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$81m heist: Bangladesh to sue NY Fed, RCBC over by Jan 15

  • Published at 01:11 am December 6th, 2018
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The Bangladesh Bank building at Motijheel Mehedi Hasan/ Dhaka Tribune

The finance minister says there is no alternative to the move

Finance Minister AMA Muhith has said that Bangladesh will sue the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Philippines' Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) over the heist of $81 million from Bangladesh Bank's account with the US bank.

"Bangladesh Bank has been working seriously to file a case in this regard and there's no alternative to it," he said while talking to reporters after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase on Wednesday.

Muhith said the central bank can file the case until January 15 next and it will do it by the deadline.

He said both the Federal Reserve Bank and RCBC will be made accused in the case as they received the fund and disbursed it.

The minister expressed the hope the Federal Reserve Bank will cooperate with Bangladesh as it is the custodian of entire fund of the world. "I think they will cooperate with us as it will ultimately be in their favour."

Following discussions with the Federal Reserve Bank, Bangladesh is convinced that the case will be filed in a New York court and the Bangladesh mission in Washington is coordinating it, he said.

International robbers withdrew $101 million from the Bangladesh Bank account with the Federal Reserve Bank through fraudulent instructions against their target of about $1 billion in February 2016.

Although, some $20 million was recovered from a Sri Lankan bank, $81 million, which landed in Manila-based RCBC, could not be recovered.

Most of the money transferred to the Philippines went to four personal accounts, held by single individuals.

The Federal Reserve Bank blocked the remaining 30 transactions, amounting to $850 million, due to suspicions raised by a misspelled instruction.

Bangladesh has so far recovered around $18 million of the $81 million transferred to the Philippines. It was later suspected that Dridex malware was used for the attack.

Muhith on Wednesday also noted that he will prepare a report on the country's financial situation and submit it to the government.

"The banking sector will get a focus in the report as it has been the weakest area of the economy as far as I'm concerned," he said.