A specialised task force is being formed to expedite the process of recovering the $81m that was stolen from Bangladesh Bank’s foreign reserves, sources at the Bank and Financial Institutions Division said.
An official of the division, requesting anonymity, told the Dhaka Tribune that the task force would work on speeding up the recovery of the stolen funds as banking experts have cautioned that the entire process might take from three to ten years.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith is now looking at terms and references for the proposed task force while the Banking Division is likely to issue a circular on this regard today, sources said.
The proposed task force is likely to be headed by the additional secretary of Banking Division, while other members would come from the Finance Ministry, Foreign Ministry, the central bank's financial intelligence unit, Anti-Corruption Commission, the Attorney General’s Office and the National Board of Revenue. The task force would also include qualified persons suitable for the job.
On February 5, hackers stole $101m million from Bangladesh Bank’s accounts in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and transferred $81m of it to Philippines’ Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation, from where the money was moved to local casinos. A further $20m was recovered from Sri Lanka.
An attempt to steal an additional $870 million was blocked in time by the US federal bank.
All BB laptops to be examined
All laptops used by Bangladesh Bank officers will be examined as part of an ongoing investigation by the Criminal Investigation Department.
Bangladesh Bank issued an office order on Monday asking all officers to submit their laptop to the IT department within two days.
The decision triggered panic among officers causing disruption in their daily office work.
Subhankar Saha, executive director of Bangladesh Bank, said the laptops would be examined to see whether those were at risk of future cyber attacks.
He added that the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMCL) of Philippines will help identify the banks through which the stolen money was laundered and find the four people suspected to be behind the digital heist.
“We have a collaborative agreement with the AMCL, and in accordance with that we are providing required information,” Subhankar said, adding that the stolen money was still in the Philippines.