Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– A delegation headed by Law Minister Anisul Huq left Dhaka for Manila on Saturday night to expedite efforts with the Philippines to retrieve the entire stolen money.
The five-member team, which includes Bangladesh Bank (BB) Governor Fazle Kabir, is scheduled to meet Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday afternoon in a last-ditch bid for bringing back the entire stolen reserves of Bangladesh.
During their November 28-30 Manila mission, the high-powered delegation will also meet with senior officials, including the governor of the Philippine central bank, seeking their cooperation in retrieving the remaining $65.75 million of Bangladesh’s heisted foreign-exchange reserves, according to officials.
They also said the delegation would try to bring back the money by way of strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries.
A two-member advance team, headed by Debaprosad Debnath, general manager at the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) of the central bank, left the capital Dhaka on Thursday night for Manila for completing groundwork to make the visit successful.
“We hope that the visit will help in accelerating the process of recovery,” a senior official told BBN in Dhaka.
The Filipino president earlier had promised to return the entire money stolen from the Bangladesh Bank’s reserve account with the US Federal Reserve Bank in New York.
The total amount so far recovered stood at $35.25 million after receiving $15.25 million from the Philippines middle of the current month.
Hackers tried to steal nearly $1.0 billion from the BB account at the Fed early February this calendar year, and succeeded in digitally burgling out $81 million into four accounts at RCBC (Rizal Commercial Banking Corp) in Manila in what is dubbed biggest such cyber heist.
The cyber fraud took place on the night of February 04, sending a total of 35 transfer orders into the US Federal Reserve Bank where the BB maintains its foreign-exchange account.
Of the 35 transfer orders placed, 30 were blocked. Four transfers to the Philippine bank for a total of $81 million went through. The rest $20 million transferred to a Sri Lankan non-government organisation was reversed because the hackers mis-spelled the name of the entity.
Nearly $20 million of the total amount of $101 million siphoned off was recovered from Sri Lanka shortly after the trans-national cyber-heist.