Bangladesh vows to sue PH bank over $81-million heist

Dhaka, Bangladesh—Bangladesh will Wednesday file a lawsuit in New York against a Philippine bank over its involvement in one of the biggest-ever cyber heists, the country’s central bank governor said.

Unidentified hackers stole $81 million from the Bangladesh central bank’s account with the US Federal Reserve in New York in February 2016.

The money was then transferred to a Manila branch of the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., swiftly withdrawn and laundered through local casinos.

A case will be filed against RCBC and “all others” involved in the heist to try and retrieve the stolen funds, Bangladesh central bank governor Fazle Kabir told AFP.

An agreement between the bank and the US Federal Reserve in New York had been signed to assist Dhaka in the case, he added.

Bangladesh has sent a legal team to New York and is prepared to fight for the money to be returned, Kabir told reporters in the capital Dhaka.

The Philippines in 2016 imposed a record $21 million fine on RCBC after investigating its role in the audacious cyberheist.

The bank has rejected the allegations and in 2017 accused Bangladesh’s central bank of a “massive coverup.”

This month former-RCBC manager Maia Deguito was handed a lengthy jail term and $109 million in fines in the first conviction over the massive theft.

Deguito, who was a branch manager where the money landed, was accused of coordinating the illegal transfer.

She plans to appeal and can remain free on bail until the conviction is finalized.

Deguito is the only person who has been convicted in the case, drawing international concern.

Topics: Bangladesh , cyber heists , Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. , Fazle Kabir , Maia Deguito
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