Bangladesh Central Bank Continues Heist Recovery Efforts In Philippines

Bank heist

In continued efforts tied to an investigation of $81 million stolen from Bangladesh’s central bank, the entity is sending officials to the Philippines to try to recover additional funds.

The $81 million lost to thieves takes its place among the largest amounts pilfered through cybercrime, Reuters reported. 

The money was stolen from Bangladesh’s central bank from an account it maintained through the New York Federal Reserve.  Thus far, of the aforementioned $81 million, only $15 million has been recovered.  Funds were taken from the New York location and were routed through Manila, Reuters reported.   The heist occurred in February of 2016. Hackers grabbed the money through falsified transfer orders. The attempt was a brazen one, seeking to steal as much as $1 billion from the central bank account.    

A lawyer with Bangladesh Bank, Ajmalul Hossain, told Reuters that two individuals with the bank’s financial intelligence unit are to meet with people from the Philippine Justice Department, an anti-laundering council and others.   

The money was routed mostly to accounts at Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., based in Manila.  Funds then were dispersed into, as Reuters termed it, Manila’s “loosely regulated casino industry.”  Some officials at the bank have been accused by the anti-money laundering council of illegal money laundering activities.  Rizal has been fined $19.5 million by the Philippine central bank for not stopping the flow of illegally gotten gains. 

Reuters noted that the $15 million that has been recovered was among as much as $35 million that a Manila casino executive, Kim Wong, told Philippines officials he had received from a duo of Chinese gamblers and that he did not know the money in turn had been stolen.