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Bangladesh gov’t told to pressure RCBC to return stolen money

/ 01:10 PM May 16, 2016

The parliamentary standing committee in the finance ministry has called for global pressure on Manila-based Rizal Bank to retrieve the $81-million fund wired illicitly to the Philippines from Bangladesh Bank’s account with the New York Fed.

“The government should also open talks with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank to put pressure on the Philippines government to get back the stolen money,” Abdur Razzaq, chairman of the committee, said after a meeting on Sunday.

The suggestions came after the BB presented a detailed report on the measures taken since the cyber heist took place in early February– to recover the stolen money at the meeting.

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The standing committee members sought to know from Finance Minister AMA Muhith how the cyber heist took place and who were involved.

“Investigations are still ongoing. At the moment, nothing can be said conclusively about the matter,” a meeting source said quoting Muhith.

Many foreign nationals were involved in the crime, Muhith told the meeting, adding that he would give a detailed statement on the heist in parliament.

The Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit or BFIU has sent a list of suspected persons and institutions in the Philippines to 151 member countries of the Egmont Group, an informal network of national financial intelligence units.

The BFIU has requested them to freeze the accounts and identify any suspicious transactions on them.

Besides, it has sent the list of the suspects to the CID for issuing a red alert through the Interpol.

BB Governor Fazle Kabir has already sent special letters to a host of related officials informing them about the heist and seeking cooperation in retrieving the money laundered to the Philippines.

The letters were sent to the chairman of the Federal Reserve System in Washington; the Philippines’ central bank governor; executive secretary of the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering; country director of the World Bank in Dhaka; and president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

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Furthermore, on March 30, Kabir sought the APG’s cooperation in bringing bank the stolen money from the Philippines. In response, the APG will send a high-level team this month.

On May 10 at Basel in Switzerland, the central bank governor held meetings with the top management of NY Fed and SWIFT, the platform through which the hacking occurred, on the matter, the report said.

The three parties vowed to work together to run a proper investigation into the incident, bring the criminals to justice and recover the entire amount of the stolen money.

Also at yesterday’s meeting, the standing committee instructed the finance ministry to give a detailed report on the Bangladeshi persons and institutions that were mentioned in the Panama Papers and Offshore Leaks.

The committee also expressed concern on the VAT law that would be introduced next fiscal year.

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TAGS: bangladesh, Business, Global Nation, money laundering, RCBC
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