Manila, Philippines (BBN)– The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the country’s central bank, has imposed a record 1 billion pesos ($21.3 million) fine against local group Rizal Commercial Banking (RCBC) for its involvement in the $81 million Bangladesh Bank heist in February.
RCBC told the local stock exchange it will pay half of the penalty immediately while the balance will be paid in a year, reports Nikkei Asian Review.
A total of $81 million was illegally transferred from a Bangladesh central bank foreign reserve account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to four fictitious accounts at an RCBC branch in the Philippines.
The money was then quickly withdrawn and funneled into local casinos by a local remittance company.
Senior officials of the Bangladesh government are in the Philippines to meet senior officials to discuss ways on how to accelerate the recovery of the stolen money.
The Philippine Senate, for its part, is planning to reopen its investigation into the bank heist to dig deeper into RCBC’s involvement. A leadership change in May, when Rodrigo Duterte was elected as the country’s president, cut short the congressional inquiry.
Ajmalul Hossain, a lawyer for Bangladesh Bank, said they will consider suing RCBC if it fails to recover the stolen money through the financial system.
Another delegation from Bangladesh, including senior representatives of Bangladesh Bank, the country’s finance ministry and its Attorney General will also visit Manila in September to further tackle the recovery of the stolen funds.