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Dhaka Tribune

BB heist: Philippines says will provide assistance to Bangladesh

Hackers stole $101m from Bangladesh Bank’s accounts with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in February 2016

Update : 11 Mar 2023, 12:48 PM

The Department of Justice (DOJ) of the Philippines has said it will provide assistance to Bangladesh over the Bangladesh Bank heist in 2016. 

“We are trying to be of assistance to them. When our foreign friends ask for assistance, we do that. Tinutulungan talaga natin kasi (We help because) it's a natural thing for us to do, between friendly nations,” DOJ Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla told reporters on Friday.

Remember that the Philippines was one of the first countries to recognize Bangladesh when it got its independence in 1971, Philippines News Agency quoted him as saying. 

“He is asking the DOJ to step in for an earlier settlement. Alam nyo naman (You know), litigation could be very expensive,” Remulla said, referring to Bangladeshi Ambassador to the Philippines Borhan Uddin.

On January 13, the Supreme Court of New York denied the motions filed by the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) to dismiss a complaint filed by the Bangladesh Bank, reports Reuters. 

On January 20, the RCBC vowed to appeal the decision against the denial of its motion to dismiss.

The decision dated January 13 ruled RCBC had "intentional participation" in stealing money from the Bangladesh Bank's account in New York.

In the same ruling, the court ordered the Bangladesh central bank and RCBC to initiate a mediation.

In response to the ruling, Rizal bank said it would continue to fight the case.

"The decision and order merely resolved the jurisdictional issues and is not in any way a finding of liability on the part of RCBC, or any of the individual defendants," it said in a stock exchange disclosure.

The Bangladesh Bank welcomed the court ruling, saying in January that it clears the way for the matter to progress in court in New York as needed, the Reuters report added. 

Meanwhile on February 14 this year, a Dhaka court set April 4 to submit a probe report in the case lodged over the Bangladesh Bank reserve heist in 2016.

Hackers stole $101m from the central bank's accounts with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in February 2016.

Of the stolen amount, $81 million was transferred to four accounts with Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) in Manila and another $20 million to a bank in Sri Lanka.

But the transfer of $20 million to Sri Lanka failed due to a spelling error by the hackers. 

Later, the central bank of Bangladesh was able to retrieve only about $15 million from the Philippines.

On March 15 of that year, Bangladesh Bank Joint Director M Jubayer Bin Huda lodged a case at Motijheel police station under the Money Laundering Prevention Act against unidentified people.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) is now investigating the case.

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