The Department of Justice in the Philippines has recommended that charges be lodged against a former bank manager who allegedly helped launder millions of dollars that were stolen from the central bank of Bangladesh in 2016.
According to a report in Reuters, the DOJ in the country did drop charges against Philrem Service Corp. over money laundering allegations and two casino agents in the wide-ranging case. Last February hackers got into the central bank in Bangladesh and sent fake requests for close to $1 billion from its account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. While many of the requests were blocked, $81 million made its way to fake names at Manila-based Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. The majority of the funds then disappeared into the casino market in Manila, which Reuters noted isn’t stringently regulated.
The DOJ wants Maia Deguito, a former branch manager at RCBC, and four unknown people who opened accounts in fake names to be charged. The DOJ said there were “eight counts of violation of the Anti-Money Laundering Act,” reported Reuters. The report noted that the RCBC was fined 1 billion Philippine pesos ($19.64 million) by the Philippine central bank, a record in the country, for failing to prevent the movement of stolen money.
According to reports last year, the Bangladesh Bank did not know it had been hacked for some time – and only informed the Fed 48 hours after the funds had been sent. And since that notice came over a weekend in New York, the Fed took an additional two days to take action. This is important because the Fed requires “reasonable notice” to stop or block transactions. Reports also indicate that the Fed had tried and failed to cancel the payments before it had informed the Bangladesh Bank of its efforts.