POST TIME: 5 March, 2018 00:00 00 AM
BB to sue RCBC in April over reserve heist
USA based law firm to be appointed for the case, says Muhith

BB to sue RCBC in April over reserve heist

Bangladesh Bank (BB) is going to file a lawsuit in April against Filipino Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) to recover the money heisted from the central bank's account with Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said Finance Minister AMA Muhith, reports BSS.

"We have already taken a decision to sue RCBC in New York. We told the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to submit the investigation report in this regard soon for accelerating the preparations of filling the case," he told journalists after a review meeting on the heisted money recovery process at the finance ministry in the in the capital yesterday.

High officials of the Bangladesh Bank and CID attended the meeting.

Responding to a question, Muhith said a USA based law firm will be appointed for conducting the case.

A meeting source said more time will be needed to complete the preparations for filing the case against RCBC. Bangladesh will have to file the case with the US court within February 2019, the source added.

Earlier, Ajmalul Hossain QC, a member of BB's legal team, at a press conference said BB, Federal Reserve Bank and global financial messaging service SWIFT will file the case against the RCBC soon in a New York court.

"We are going to file the case in a New York court. We are discussing with Federal Reserve Bank for suing as they are also a victim of this heist. So, BB, Fed and SWIFT will jointly file the case," he said.

He said the Philippines government is providing all sorts of legal support to Bangladesh for recovering the heisted reserve money.

Unidentified hackers shifted $81 million in February 2016 from the Bangladesh central bank's account with the US Federal Reserve in New York to a Manila branch of the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp (RCBC).

The money was quickly withdrawn and laundered through Manila casinos. A small amount of the stolen money was recovered.

Of the amount, $81 million was transferred to four accounts at 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, BB was able to retrieve about $15 million from Philippines.

Of the rest of the $66 million, about $51.5 million has already been traced and the legal procedures are going on to recover the whole heisted money.

Earlier on March, finance minister said, Bangladesh will file case against Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation of Philippines to recover the stolen reserve money.

On April 20, 2016, Bangladesh Bank heist probe committee handed over the interim investigation report to the government.

Head of the committee, former BB governor Mohammed Farashuddin, handed over the report to Finance Minister AMA Muhith.

The committee investigated how the illegal payment instructions were issued from BB and to whom.

The Philippines last year imposed a record $21-million fine on RCBC after a "special examination" of the bank and its role in the audacious cyber heist.