Chief of Bangladesh central bank quits after $100 mn heist

Irish Sun Wednesday 16th March, 2016

chief of bangladesh central bank quits after $100 mn heist

• Atiur Rahman resigned over the theft, in what is believed to be the world's biggest ever bank heist in recent memory.

• Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has accepted his resignation, reports said.

• Hackers breached the computer systems of Bangladesh Bank and transferred $81 mn from its account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to casinos in the Philippines

DHAKA - The governor of Bangladesh's central bank resigned Tuesday after hackers stole more than $100 million from the bank's account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York last month.

Atiur Rahman resigned over the theft, in what is believed to be the world's biggest ever bank heist in recent memory.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has accepted his resignation, reports said.

Rahman met the prime minister at her office in the morning and handed over his resignation, seven years after he was appointed the governor.

In the morning, an upset Rahman told reporters: "I am waiting to know what the prime minister says. I have no hesitation in resigning if it helps the Bangladesh Bank."

"I have drafted my resignation and will step down as soon as the prime minister asks me to," he told reporters at his home.

The resignation came after Bangladesh Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith called the bank's approach to the cybertheft "very incompetent."

Muhith had asked 64-year-old Rahman to submit his resignation.

Hackers had breached the computer systems of Bangladesh Bank and transferred $81 million from its account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to casinos in the Philippines between Feb. 4 and Feb. 5.

Another $20 million went to a Sri Lankan bank, according to Subhankar Saha, a spokesman for Bangladesh Bank. That transfer was later reversed by Sri Lanka's central bank.

A Bangladesh Bank official and an official at the Ministry of Finance said up to 35 transfer requests were sent to the Fed through an interbank messaging system known as Swift on Feb. 5.

Finance Minister Muhith had earlier said he was kept in the dark about the heist for weeks, and that the central bank management must explain its "audacity".

The hacking took place on the night of February 4, using information stolen through the malware, which sent a total of 35 transfer orders to the NY Federal Reserve Bank where the Bangladesh's central bank has an account.

The money transfer request appeared to come from a Bangladesh server, and they supplied the correct bank codes to authenticate the transfers, the New York Fed said.

Alarm was raised when the hackers misspelled the name of a Sri Lankan non-governmental organisation, triggering a check of the request.

Saha, the central bank spokesman, said that Bangladesh Bank has set up a forensic team led by Rakesh Asthana, chief executive officer of World Informatix, a Virginia-based cyber security company.

FireEye Inc. is also involved in the investigation, according to Bloomberg.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer has reported that the cash may have entered the country via a branch of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., converted into pesos and deposited in the account of an unidentified Chinese-Filipino businessman who runs a business flying high net worth gamblers to the Philippines.

The Philippines is cooperating with Bangladesh and will continue investigations until the funds are recovered, Teresita Herbosa, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, told reporters in Manila.

Bangladesh Bank said it is "working closely" with the Philippine's Financial Intelligence agency to recover the money.

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