International

Did North Koreans Steal From Bangladesh?

In the ongoing investigation into one of the biggest and more brazen bank robberies seen to date, and done digitally, The Wall Street Journal reports that federal prosecutors are “building cases” against North Korea that would point toward that nation as being behind the pilfering of $81 million from Bangladesh.

As has been reported, the money stolen from Bangladesh was taken from that nation’s account 13 months ago at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The WSJ noted that any charges would, in fact, target a number of middlemen, based in China, who may be charged with helping North Korea complete the heist. North Korea may not be charged directly but would be implicated, said the WSJ.

As has been reported, the theft used SWIFT access codes tied to Bangladesh to grab hold of the ill-gotten gains. The money flowed from the Fed in New York to a quartet of bank accounts in the Philippines.

Moving toward a federal case would imply that the United States Justice Department sees merit to the argument that the 2016 heist can be linked, in part, to the 2014 Sony Pictures hack at the hands of North Korea. Sources unnamed by the WSJ said that there are a number of Chinese individuals or entities who might have aided North Korea. The code linked to the Bangladesh heist has been traced to the breach at Sony, said the WSJ.  Some $15 million of that pilfered $81 million has been returned by the Philippines as of late last year.

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