• Wednesday, May 22, 2019
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‘BB heist report put on hold for the sake of probe’

  • Published at 10:07 pm February 19th, 2019
Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal
File photo of Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal Mahmood Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Hackers stole $101 million to Sri Lanka and the Philippines from Bangladesh's central bank account with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York through their five false payment instructions in January 2016

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Tuesday told Parliament that the probe report of the Dr Farashuddin-led committee on the reserve heist of Bangladesh Bank is not disclosed for the sake of ongoing investigation by Criminal Investigation Department.

"CID’s investigation is ongoing. That’s why we have decided not to disclose Dr Farashuddin’s report yet so that it doesn't influence CID’s probe," he said in his statement delivered under section 300 of the rules of procedure in the House.

Noting that a USA legal firm, on behalf of Bangladesh, filed a case with a US court in January, the minister said the process of recovering the rest of the stolen money is still going on. 

"I'll inform the House through you (Speaker) in case of any progress in this regard," he added.

Hackers stole $101 million to Sri Lanka and the Philippines from Bangladesh's central bank account with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York through their five false payment instructions in January 2016.

Immediately after the incident, Mustafa Kamal said, the government took all possible measures to recover the stolen money, identify the persons and organizations involved in the cyber heist, and prevent the recurrence of such incidents, he said.

In continuation of this process, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Bangladesh Police was given the responsibility for further investigation into the incident.

Bangladesh recovered $20 million of the stolen money from Sri Lanka and brought back $14.63 million from the Philippines, Mustafa Kamal said, adding that the government is doing its best to bring back the remaining $66.37 million stolen money.

Noting the cyber heist is an international criminal activity, the finance minister said several overseas organizations were involved in it. 

With this consideration, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Philippines government started investigation into the incident on request of the Bangladesh government, he said.

FBI has already filed a case with the US court against the hackers, while a case has been lodged in the Philippines against those involved in the money laundering activities, he added.

Having sufficient evidence from the FBI and the Philippines, Bangladesh appointed an US legal firm in June 2018 to file the case with the US court in the cyber heist.