Recovering stolen Bangladesh Bank fund is the priority, says new Governor

Former finance secretary Fazle Kabir, whose appointment was announced hours after his predecessor Atiur Rahman stepped down, took charge of the central bank on Sunday.

“Our first priority is to recover those funds,” he said while speaking to the media.

The theft came to light late last month after the Philippines’ Daily Inquirer reported that the Manila authorities had initiated a money laundering probe involving funds wired to accounts in local banks.

It said that on Feb 4, $81 million was transferred to four accounts from Bangladesh Bank’s account with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which was then converted to local currencies and funnelled to casinos.

The then governor Atiur Rahman kept the government in the dark for almost a month. Amid the resultant criticism, Atiur stepped down on Mar 15.

The same day Fazle Kabir was named as the next governor.

After joining office on Sunday, the new central bank chief said that Bangladesh Bank was emphasising cyber security to avoid such incidents in future.

“We can say this (the cyber theft) was a wake-up call. We will now have to work with more precautions and security measures,” Kabir told reporters.

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