South Asia

Bangladeshi Banking Officials Closer To Recovering A Fraction Of $81M Stolen Earlier This Year

A team from the recently heisted Bangladeshi central bank visiting Manila in an attempt to recover some of the $81 million cybercriminals successfully boosted from their accounts at the New York Fed via the Swift Interbank messaging system says it is getting closer to taking at least some of their funds back.

They just have to prove they are the rightful owners of the $15 million or so currently sitting frozen in the Philippines.

Though the hackers initially tried to steal $1 billion from Bangladesh's central bank - they were only able to make off with $81 million. Those funds were then laundered through Manila's many casinos - so far only about $18 million has been recovered.

To reclaim the funds, officials from Bangladesh must now file a document that establishes their legal claim to the $15 million currently under the control of authorities in Manila (a separate $2.7 million currently held by the state's casino regulator will need to be pursued separately.)

"We are in the final stages of recovering the $15 million, but for the rest we hope a (Philippines) senate hearing on the issue resumes so that we can get to know more details about the case," said John Gomes, Bangladesh's ambassador to the Philippines, who is helping the bank representatives on a four-day visit to Manila ending Friday.

The Bangladeshi delegation has already met the DoJ and officials from the anti-money-laundering council in Manila and has reportedly papered an affidavit for presentation.  That affidavit contains officially written confirmation by the New York Fed that the funds were stolen from Bangladesh Bank's account. The affidavit will be given to the DoJ to file with a court, the sources said.

The Bangladeshi delegation has also reportedly made plans to write to newly elected Philippine President Duterte to seek his aid in recovering the stolen funds.




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