MANILA, AUGUST 5, 2016 – Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte, has given a commitment that the 81 million dollars stolen by cyber criminals from the account of Bangladesh Bank in New York and funneled through bank accounts in Manila would be returned.John Gomes, Bangladesh Ambassador disclosed on Friday in Manila that the Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte, has given his commitment.
He said that a Bangladesh central bank team visiting Manila to recover the money said that they were getting close to getting back 15 million dollars of the loot frozen by the Philippines.
Gomes said that the cyber criminals tried to steal nearly 1 billion dollars from Bangladesh Bank’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in February, and succeeded in transferring 81 million dollars to four accounts at Manila’s Rizal Commercial Banking Corp (RCB.PS).
The ambassador said that investigation revealed that money was then laundered through the city’s casinos.
“Only about 18 million dollars including 2.7 million dollars frozen by the Philippines’ casino regulator, has been accounted for.
Gomes said that the Philippines’ Department of Justice (DoJ) has asked the Bangladesh Bank delegation to file a legal document staking its claim to the 15 million dollars.
“We are very hopeful that we will get the total $81 million dollars.
He added that Bangladesh’s finance minister might come to the Philippines to meet Duterte to help in the recovery of the money.
Gomes said the bank felt RCBC should be held responsible because it did not follow a stop-payment request from Bangladesh Bank, and its lawyer Ajmalul Hossain said it would sue RCBC if it was not able to recover the entire 81 million dollars.
Meanwhile, Ricardo Paras III, Chief state Counsel of the Philippines DoJ, said that he has already drafted court documents to begin recovery of the 15 million dollars.
He, however, stressed that it was important for Bangladesh to prove it is their money.
The Bangladeshi delegation said that they have prepared an affidavit citing a letter by the New York Fed to the Philippines’ central bank, in which the Fed said the money was stolen from Bangladesh Bank’s account.
They said that the affidavit would be given to the DoJ.