Bangladesh Bank (BB) is expecting that the case against Philippine Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) over the reserve heist is likely to be settled within the three years.
“We filed the lawsuit with the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York at around 7 am (New York time 8 pm on January 31). The New York Fed had signed an agreement to help the central bank for resolving the case,” said head of the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) of the central bank Abu Hena Mohd Razee Hassan.
The BFIU chief was speaking at a press conference regarding the case for recovering the whole money heisted from the central bank’s account with Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Among others, BB Lawyer Ajmalul Hossain QC and BFIU Adviser Debaprasad Debnath were present at the press briefing.
Responding to a question, Razee Hassan said the cost for recovery of the money is as per the government standard and maximum Taka three crore has been spent so far in this regard.
Ajmalul Hossain said the central bank tried alternative ways to recover the money as the Philippines government is providing all sorts of supports in this regard under the mutual legal assistance. “If the case is running in full swing, the case is likely to resolve within three years. Fed and SWIFT will provide all sorts of assistances to the central in this regard,” he added.
He said the first hearing is likely to be within the six months and BB claimed the heisted money, its interest and operating cost of case.
Ajmalul said the BB filed the case against seven institutions, including RCBC, 15 individuals and 25 unknown people.
Hackers stole a total US$101 million from Bangladesh’s account with the New York Fed in February 2016.
Of the amount, $81 million was transferred to four accounts with the RCBC in Manila and another $20 million to a bank in Sri Lanka. But the transfer of $20 million to Sri Lanka had failed because of a spelling error by the hackers.
Later, the BB was able to retrieve about $15 million from the Philippines.
On January 10 this year, a Philippine court found Maia Deguito, who managed RCBC’s Makati City branch, guilty of eight counts of money laundering tied to the heist. It sentenced her to a 32 to 56 year prison term and a $109 million fine.