No bar to continue case in New York, accused's petition dismissed

A court in New York has dismissed two petitions seeking to scrap a case filed over stealing reserves of Bangladesh Bank kept in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in the US.

On 13 January, New York's Supreme Court dismissed the petitions filed by Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation in Philippines (RCBC) and six accused.

Bangladesh Bank's Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) in a statement on Monday disclosed this update of the case.

Another accused Kim Aung's appeal for scrapping the case has also been dismissed.

Following this verdict in the New York court, there is no bar to continue Bangladesh Bank's reserve heist case in US court against Philippines' RCBC and 18 people and organisations including Kim Aung.

The accused have been asked to respond by 2 February and simultaneously directives have been given for negotiation.

Now Bangladesh Bank thinks there is a possibility to get back stolen money.

BFIU said on 31 January 2019, Bangladesh Bank filed a case in US District Court for the Southern District of New York or the Federal Court against 20 people and organisations including Philippines' private sector bank RCBC on charges of stealing Bangladesh reserves kept in the US bank.

The case was filed to recover the stolen money.

Later six people and organisations including RCBC appealed for the case to be scrapped.

After completing legal procedures, the Federal Court on 20 March 2020 gave directives to conduct the case in the state court instead of the Federal Court, dismissing the appeal.

Following the directives of the Federal Court, Bangladesh filed a case anew at the New York's Supreme Court on 27 May 2020. Six accused including RCBC appealed in the new court for scrapping the case.  Hearings on their appeal were held several times.

In the verdict of the New York's district court, it was said RCBC had a motivated collusion in stealing of Bangladesh Bank reserve from the New York Bank.

If there was no cooperation from RCBC's New York account and RCBC's Philippines accused officials, there was no scope to remove money from New York Federal Reserve Bank.

On the night of 4 February 2016, a total of US$ 81 million was stolen from the reserve of Bangladesh Bank. The reserve was kept in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in the US. The money was promptly withdrawn after it was transferred to the Rizal Bank (RCBC) of the Philippines.

The Bangladesh Bank filed a lawsuit at a New York court to recover the money three years ago. After the theft, a total of US$ 15 million has been recovered at different times so far.