Published at: The Daily Star, February 04, 2019
Bangladesh Bank will have to wait for at least three more years to recover the amount stolen from its account three years ago, said its high official upon his return from filing a case with a US district court over the cyber heist.
The case was filed with the Southern District of New York on February 1 against: seven institutions including the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation of the Philippines, 15 individuals and 25 unknown persons, said Ajmalul Hossain QC, the BB’s attorney.
“There might be challenges to jurisdiction, but we can establish it,” he said at a press briefing yesterday to inform on the case filed.
He expects the legal case to be settled in three years’ time. Quizzed about the RCBC’s assertion that the case against it was “completely baseless”, Hossain said they unearthed information from the Filipino bank’s internal documents that suggest otherwise.
All the closed-circuit televisions of the RCBC branch were switched off between the nights of February 4 and February 9, 2016.
Besides, the branch of the RCBC also disconnected its SWIFT network on February 7 although the bank stopped its banking operations from February 6 for two days on the occasion of public holidays and Chinese New Year.
The branch should have disconnected the SWIFT network on the eve of February 5, considering it was the last working day, he said.
But it disconnected the network on Sunday (February 7), when the Bangladeshi banks resumed operations after the weekend.
“We think that the branch had intentionally done it so that no message could send to it from the Bangladesh Bank’s end regarding the reserve heist,” Hossain said.
The central bank has so far spent about Tk 3 crore to recover the stolen funds, said Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit Head Abu Hena Mohd Razee Hassan, who is overseeing the BB’s efforts to retrieve the $66.46 million that is at large.