Manila, Philippines (BBN)-The Duterte administration has urged Bangladesh to follow the processes required under Philippine laws in order to recover the remaining funds stolen by the cyber thieves from Bangladesh central bank early this year.
The government has already turned over to Bangladesh at least $15 million of the $81 million in funds in the February cyber heist attack, reports Manila based newspaper Sun Star.
Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, who recently met a high-level delegation from Bangladesh, recommended that Bangladesh share with the Department of Justice and the Anti-Money Laundering Council the results of their investigation into the cyber heist.
“There were certain judicial processes … that you had to go through to make sure that there would be no challenge to your taking the funds,” Dominguez informed the visiting delegation.
“We are pursuing the lawsuits on your behalf, actually, as vigorously as we can,” he added.
The Bangladesh delegation also included Dr Muhammad Abdur Razzaque, the chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance Ministry; Attorney General Mahbubey Alam; Fazle Kabir, Governor of the Bangladesh Bank; Md Eunusur Rahman, Secretary, Bank of Financial Institutions Division, Ministry of Finance; Debaprosad Debnath, general manager of the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit, Bangladesh Bank; and Mohammad Abdur Rab, joint director of the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit, Bangladesh Bank.
Bangladesh Ambassador to Manila John Gomes accompanied the delegation to the meeting.
Joining Dominguez at the meeting were Justice Undersecretary Ricardo Paras, who is also the Chief State Counsel, Justice Undersecretary Antonio Kho, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Manuel Teehankee, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla, and Carlos Panes, who is director of Facilities Management and Engineering Department of the BSP.
To help speed up the recovery efforts, Espenilla requested the Bangladesh officials to provide the BSP a full report on the investigation into the cyber hacking incident to strengthen the Philippine government’s position, on Bangladesh’s behalf, in the court proceedings that aim to bring back the rest of the stolen funds.
Espenilla also assured the Bangladesh officials that the Philippines has an “effective anti-money laundering system in place” and that the BSP has already advised the parties involved to “correct the deficiencies” in their respective processes.
The Bangladesh officials, in response, said progress has been made in the investigation and that it would send the government whatever updates they have on the probe.
“We are pursuing this on your behalf and the Department of Justice stands ready to assist you,” Dominguez said.
Dominguez met with Ambassador Gomes two months ago and assured him of the Philippine government’s “100 percent support” behind ongoing efforts to recover the entire $81 million of the stolen funds from the Bangladesh Bank.
During the November 29 meeting, the Bangladesh delegation thanked the Philippine officials in helping return the $15 million, the DOF said.