DHAKA Nov 24 A Bangladesh delegation will visit
the Philippines to speed up recovery of the rest of some $81
million stolen from its account in the New York Federal Reserve
in February, two officials said on Thursday, after recovering a
fifth of the funds.
The five-member team, led by Law Minister Anisul Haq, will
hold talks with Philippines authorities on Nov. 28 to Dec. 1.
"We are hoping it will help expedite the recovery of the
rest of stolen funds," a member of the team told Reuters, on
condition of anonymity.
Unknown cyber criminals used stolen Bangladesh Bank
credentials to try to transfer nearly $1 billion from its Fed
account in early February, one of the biggest bank frauds ever.
They succeeded in transferring some $81 million via an
account at the New York Federal Reserve to four accounts in fake
names at a branch of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp in
Manila. Most of the money was laundered through casinos in
Manila and remains missing.
Only $15.25 million has been recovered. It was returned to
Bangladesh earlier this month.
A senior central bank official told Reuters the team will
also try to meet Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who had
earlier pledged the stolen money would be returned.
The team also included Bangladesh Bank Governor Fazle Kabir;
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam; Abdur Razzaq, the chairman of
the parliamentary standing committee on the finance ministry;
and Eunusur Rahman, secretary of the Finance Ministry's bank and
financial institutions division.
This week, an anti-money laundering body in the Philippines
filed charges against five officials of RCBC bank and a former
treasurer who "wilfully ignored" suspicious activity that led to
the money vanishing after the cyber theft.
No arrests have been made, despite investigations by the
U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Interpol, Bangladesh
police and authorities in the Philippines.
(Reporting by Ruma Paul, editing by Larry King)