BB files case against Philippine bank over reserve heist

Bangladesh Bank (BB) today filed a case against Philippine Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) with a New York court to recover the whole money heisted from the central bank’s account with Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

“The lawsuit was filed 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),” said head of the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) of the central bank Abu Hena Mohd Razee Hassan.

He said the case was filed with the court through the online system and the court accepted the lawsuit immediately.

Razee Hassan said RCBC, Manila and other agencies whose names came up during the probe were made accused in the case.

Earlier, BB Governor Fazle Kabir said the New York Fed had signed an agreement to help with the case.

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.