Update March 17, 2016

Dhaka 3-19 pm, 20-January, 2021

‘Low chance’ of recovering cyber heist funds

Sumel Sarker

Filipino senator

‘Low chance’ of recovering cyber heist funds

17 March 2016, Nirapad News: Filipino Senator Sergio Osmena III has given a ‘very low chance’ to recovering the $81 million lost by Bangladesh Bank in a recent cyber heist.

The funds found their way to accounts in the Philippines last month in what was easily one of the worst cyber crimes in recent years.

The money was stolen from the Bangladesh Bank’s account with Federal Reserve Bank of New York in the US.

Bangladesh Bank governor Atiur Rahman has resigned over the heist and Fazle Kabir has taken his place.

Osmena said that the stolen funds had possibly ‘found their way’ out of the country, according to a report of Philippine Daily Inquirer, a leading newspaper of the southeast Asian country.

But he said that tracking the money from Bangladesh Bank would depend on the cooperation extended by casinos at the resumption of the Senate inquiry into the money-laundering scheme.

The stolen money found its way into casinos after being withdrawn from a branch of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp (RCBC) in Makati City.

Senator Teofisto Guingona III, chair of the Senate blue ribbon committee, said it would be very difficult to retrieve the money “given that it has entered the blackhole,” Inquirer said.

Osmeña told reporters in his Makati City office that the chance of retrieving the money was ‘very low.’

“We will try to get more information from the casinos. We have not questioned the president of Solaire because he was out of the country and the corporate counsel he sent does not know the details of the transactions,” he was quoted by Inquirer as saying.

The senator said he wanted to find out from the casinos “where the money went” and for them to show their records that they “received the amounts and to whom these amounts were credited.”

“I hope (the casinos can provide the electronic trail). We don’t know how they will defend themselves but the law is full of holes. They can get away with it,” he was quoted by Inquirer as saying.

Asked whether there were laws that the casinos could invoke to save them from talking, Osmeña appeared pessimistic.

“The country’s laws “protect the criminals more than the government,” he said, citing as example the bank secrecy law that was invoked repeatedly by RCBC officials at the hearing on Tuesday.

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