Finance Minister Mustafa Kamal said on Sunday that Bangladesh will file a case with a New York court by this January over the cyber heist of the country’s central bank reserves worth nearly $81 million.
“A case will be filed with a New York court by this month to recover the stolen money of Bangladesh Bank,” he said while talking to journalists at the Secretariat in Dhaka.In February 2016, unknown criminals used fraudulent orders on the SWIFT payment system to steal $81 million from the Bangladesh Bank account with the Federal Reserve Bank in New York.
Replying to a query, the minister said lawyers of Bangladesh and the United States will finalise names of the accused in the case.
Mustafa Kamal held a meeting with a high-powered committee comprising Bangladesh Bang and government officials who went to the US to decide how to proceed with filing the case against individuals or groups involved in the reserve heist.
The committee members include Ashadul Islam, secretary of the banking division, and Abu Hena Mohd Razee Hassan, chief of the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit.
According to US laws, money-laundering cases will have to be filed within three years of the crime committed. So, a case against the Fed will have to be filed with a New York court by this January.
US $101 million was stolen on February 4, 2016 from Bangladesh Bank’s account with the Federal Reserve Bank, but the cyber heist came to light in March after a Manila-based newspaper published a report on it.The incident prompted the then Bangladesh Bank governor, Atiur Rahman, to quit.
Bangladesh Bank and the Criminal Investigation Department of Bangladesh Police are jointly working to recover the remaining money.
A joint investigation team left Dhaka for Singapore and the Philippines, according to a source.
An inquiry committee, headed by former BB governor Mohammed Farashuddin, submitted a report on its findings. The government is, however, yet to publish the report.
The probe body submitted its preliminary report to the finance minister in April 2016 and the final report on May 30.
In October 2017, the BB authorities informed that they would take legal step against the Philippines bank after the disposal of cases with the Philippine court to recover the remaining $66.4 million transferred to different foreign accounts.
The statement mentioned that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Bangladesh Bank and global financial messaging service provider, SWIFT, have vowed to work together and representatives from the three organisations met in New York in late 2017.