Bangladesh sues RCBC bank, others over $81m cyber heist

Prothom Alo English Desk | Update:

Bangladesh Bank

Bangladesh Bank has sued Philippine's Rizal Commercial Banking Corp (RCBC) and others involved over the $81 million cyber heist in 2016 in New York’s Federal Court, reports Reuters.

Bangladesh filed the lawsuit with the US court on Friday morning (Bangladesh Time).

According to the Reuters report, in February 2016, unknown criminals used fraudulent orders on the SWIFT payments system to steal $81 million from a Bangladesh Bank account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The money was then sent to accounts at Manila-based RCBC and then vanished into the casino industry in the Philippines.

Fazle Kabir, governor of the Bangladesh Bank, earlier on Wednesday told Reuters that the lawsuit would be filed in the US district court for the southern district of New York.

"All necessary processes have been completed and Bangladesh signed an agreement Tuesday night with the New York Fed Bank to assist Bangladesh in handling this case," Kabir was quoted to have said.

Reuter report added that For its part, RCBC has previously said the cyber heist was an inside job and Bangladesh Bank was engaging in a cover-up by maligning it.

On Wednesday, RCBC said in a statement it had engaged a top New York law firm to handle its defence.

"We welcome this complaint, as it is an opportunity for RCBC to put on record again that it was a victim of what was started in Bangladesh by still-unnamed persons," the bank said.

This month, it added, a Philippine court found former RCBC branch manager Maia Deguito guilty on eight counts of money laundering in connection with the heist and sentenced her to a jail term ranging from 32 to 56 years.

The Philippine central bank fined RCBC a record one billion pesos ($20 million) in 2016 for its failure to prevent the movement of the stolen money through the bank, it further said.

A former treasurer of RCBC and five other workers at the branch where the cash was withdrawn face money laundering charges.

Just $15 million of the stolen money has been recovered from a Manila junket operator, a role that involves marketing casinos to VIPs.

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