“RCBC cannot deny its responsibility regarding the money that was stolen from Bangladesh Bank reserve. The bank authorities have already admitted responsibility for the stolen money because the Philippines central bank fined them with $21 million for their wrong doing,” the minister told reporters at his Secretariat office.
The press conference was arranged to brief media about his visit to the Philippines to bring back the remaining $66m from the RCBC bank.
The minister also pointed out that out of the $21m, the RCBC had already paid $10m to the Philippines central bank.
“The RCBC is responsible for the stolen $66m because the Bangladesh Bank reserve money was stolen from its deposit. No one from the Bangladesh Bank can be blamed for the heist,” he said.
The five-member delegation, led by the law minister, met with officials of the Philippines government to discuss the legal details concerning the retrieval of the reserve that was stolen from its account with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in February.
Other members of the delegation were Bangladesh Bank Governor Fazle Kabir, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam, Financial Institutions Division Secretary Eunusur Rahman and President of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance Ministry Dr Md Abdur Razzak.
Anisul yesterday said that the Philippines senate president, Aquilino Pimentel Jr, and Finance Minister Carlos Dominguez had assured them of taking all out effort to recover the money from RCBC. “Out of the $66m, only $29m went to casino which is definitely recoverable,” he claimed.
“We have asked the Philippines authorities to resume hearing in parliament regarding the matter,” the minister said, adding that the Philippines senate president had also asked the authorities concerned to fix a day for the hearing.
Regarding filing of cases against the RCBC and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Anisul said: “The Philippines government has filed a case against eight officials of the RCBC.” He, however, said that the case regarding the New York Fed was a different issue.
Unknown cyber criminals tried to steal nearly $1bn from the Bangladesh Bank in February, which is dubbed one of the biggest bank frauds ever. They succeeded in transferring some $81m via an account at the New York Fed to four accounts in fake names at a branch of RCBC in Manila. Most of the money was laundered through casinos in Manila and remains missing.
RCBC’s external counsel Thea Daep urged the central bank of Bangladesh to be transparent and produce the results of its own investigation to shed light on who was behind the heist, saying it was the least Bangladesh Bank could do.
Only about $15m has so far been recovered and returned to Bangladesh, with a further $2.7m frozen.
The RCBC was fined a record one billion Philippine pesos ($20m) by the Philippines central bank, about one fifth of its net profit last year, for its failures to prevent the Bangladesh Bank money from being transferred through accounts at the bank.
An anti-money laundering body last week filed charges against five officials of RCBC in connection with the heist. The central bank has already recovered $15.25m from the Philippines’ anti-money laundering council and $20m from Sri Lanka.
Bangladesh Bank authorities also filed a case while a high-profile team involving a former governor of the bank investigated the matter and submitted a report to the government.