Last month, officials of six countries sat in Singapore to discuss the much-hyped digital heist but the outcomes are not satisfactory. The meeting was arranged by Bangladesh Police and Interpol.
Earlier, the CID officers held two meetings in the Philippines and USA with officials of 11 countries. The next meeting is likely to be held in Dhaka in December.
Investigators said transnational crimes always consume huge time. Although they had made some progress in the investigation in Bangladesh and nearby countries, the other countries involved are yet to provide the information requested by CID.
Hackers stole a total of $101 million from Bangladesh’s account at the New York Fed on February 4 this year. They were able to transfer $81m to four accounts at Rizal Commercial Banking Corp in Manila and another $20m to a bank in Sri Lanka. Bangladesh Bank was able to bring back $20m from Sri Lanka.
A Manila court has recently declared that Bangladesh is the rightful owner of $15.25m, and thus the amount be transferred.
It is believed that over a dozen foreign hackers were involved the heist and transferred the money to 23 bank accounts. Most of the suspects are from South Asian countries.
The central bank authorities filed a case over the heist on March 15 after the matter came into light. The case was handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department immediately.
CID Special Superintendent Mirza Abdullahel Baqui told the Dhaka tribune that the meeting in Singapore was not a success. “The case needs more time. The charge sheet cannot be pressed this year,” he said.
Additional Deputy Inspector General Shah Alam said that they were getting necessary cooperation from the police forces of the countries concerned.
The investigators have kept 10 Bangladesh Bank officials under the scanner for their suspected involvement in the heist. The officers could be charged if they fail to explain their stance.
Governor Atiur Rahman resigned while two deputy governors removed after the heist. The government has not published the investigation report submitted by former Bangladesh Bank governor Farasuddin Ahmed. The report mentioned some officials who were negligent in performing their duties properly.
“The officials who made the SWIFT system weak gradually by implementing several other systems are under surveillance,” a senior CID official said seeking anonymity.
Baqui and Shah Alam hoped that they would get some crucial information the next meeting in Bangladesh. If the countries do not response soon, the CID would follow its own investigation procedure.
The number of foreign suspects might increase if the police departments from the countries concerned submit their reports to the CID, Baqui added.