Bangladesh team in Manila to re­claim cy­ber heist funds

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ -

MANILA: A Bangladesh cen­tral bank team ar­rived in Manila on Mon­day to work on mov­ing back part of the US$81 mil­lion (RM325.6 mil­lion) stolen from its ac­count in the New York Fed­eral Re­serve in Fe­bru­ary and sent to the Philip­pines, a Bangladeshi of­fi­cial said.

A Philip­pine court in Septem­ber ad­judged that Bangladesh Bank was the right­ful owner of around US$15 mil­lion sur­ren­dered by casino boss Kim Wong and his East­ern Hawaii Leisure Com­pany, ac­cord­ing to a court or­der seen by Reuters.

Wong, who re­turned US$4.63 mil­lion and 488.28 mil­lion pe­sos (RM40.4 mil­lion) to Philip­pine author­i­ties from the mil­lions of dol­lars he took from two Chi­nese high­rollers, has de­nied any role in one of the world’s big­gest cy­ber heists.

The US$15 mil­lion re­cov­ered from the to­tal heisted is now se­cure in the vaults of the Philip­pine cen­tral bank, said John Gomes, Bangladesh’s am­bas­sador to the Philip­pines, who at­tended a count of the money last week.

“The writ of ex­e­cu­tion that the money be handed back to Bangladesh has al­ready been done by the court,” Gomes said.

“The good thing is now that the process on this US$15 mil­lion is more or less com­pleted, we will go for the rest.”

A source close to Bangladesh Bank con­firmed the visit by the Dhaka of­fi­cials to re­trieve the money.

Bangladesh Bank spokesman Sub­hankar Saha did not re­spond to calls seek­ing com­ment.

In the Philip­pine cap­i­tal, the cen­tral bank, Bangko Sen­tral, directed Reuters to the An­tiMoney Laun­der­ing Coun­cil, which, in turn, de­flected the query to the depart­ment of jus­tice.

Ri­cardo V. Paras, the Philip­pine Jus­tice Depart­ment of­fi­cial who rep­re­sented the Bangladesh gov­ern­ment in court, did not re­turn tele­phone calls to seek com­ment.

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