Security & Fraud

Bangladesh Bank Hacker Blame Game Continues

There’s been a lot of accusations as to who are the hackers behind the $81 billion Bangladesh central bank cyberheist that involved hacking into the New York Fed.

But the latest theory on the table from a Philippines senator is that Chinese hackers are to blame — not Filipino ones. But that’s not to say that that theory is 100 percent solid, of course, as it’s still speculative at the moment.

“It would appear they are not Filipino hackers [but] possibly Chinese hackers,” official Ralph Recto said during a hearing, according to a Reuters report. “They saw the vulnerability in the [Philippines] banking system or one bank.”

This case, which has quickly earned itself the title of being one of the “world’s largest cyberheists,” has slowly emerged over recent weeks, but reports indicate that $81 million was stolen from Bangladesh’s account at the New York Fed through the use of official government codes and stashed into a Philippines personal bank account. The remaining $20 million was routed to a Sri Lankan bank.

But as to why Chinese hackers are being blamed? Recto didn’t give any specific details on that but cited the previous reports that two Chinese casino operators were involved in the case.

During a money laundering hearing at the Senate in Manila last week, Kim Wong, a Chinese resident of the Philippines and casino junket operator, denied any involvement with the scheme and said two high-rollers from Beijing and Macau brought the stolen funds into the country. But that hasn’t stopped the speculation since.

Wong confirmed last week he would return $4.63 million in cash to the government watchdog investigating the incident. According to a criminal complaint filed by the Philippines’ Anti-Money Laundering Council, about $21 million of the stolen funds landed in a bank account for the company Eastern Hawaii, which Wong owns.

“I have nothing to do with the forging of bank documents for the $81 million. I don’t know the source of the $81 million,” he reportedly said at the hearing.

But now, officials in the Philippines aren’t seeming to buy part of the story.

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