Filipino govt won’t mediate any BB heist settlement

Prothom Alo English Desk | Update:

BW file photoThe Philippines government will keep its hands off legal between the bank concerned and Dhaka for settlement of dues after the US81 million cyber heist of Bangladesh Bank money in 2016, a business magazine reported on Tuesday.

Hackers stole the central bank money deposited with Federal Reserve Bank of New York and draw cash from Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) in Manila before the money was sent to a Filipino casino.

Manila has returned $15 million so far, but the remaining $66 million is still unaccounted for after the money trail went cold in local casinos, according to BusinessWorld.

It said the government of Philippines maintained its stance to keep its hands off any developments on Dhaka filing charges against RCBC next week over the $81-million bank heist in 2016.

“Our position is unchanged,” finance secretary Carlos G Dominguez III was quoted to have told reporters in a mobile phone message on Monday.

This statement followed a media report that Dhaka will file charges against RCBC and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on 15 January over their role in the $81-million Bangladesh Bank heist.

Unidentified cyber criminals stole the $81 million in February 2016 using fraudulent orders on the SWIFT payments system, which were eventually wired to RCBC accounts.

Dominguez met former finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith in Manila in May last year, where he said the Philippines government will have no hand in any out-of-court settlement or developments in court regarding the charges against RCBC as it has already imposed the necessary sanctions on the bank, said the magazine.

It added that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas slapped a P1-billion fine on RCBC, which was the largest penalty ever imposed by the central bank on a lender.

Local authorities have also filed money laundering charges against an RCBC branch manager involved in the heist.

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