Bangladesh central bank chief quits over $101 million heist
Bangladesh central bank governor Atiur Rahman has submitted his resignation as tensions escalate with the finance minister after hackers stole about $101 million from the nation's foreign reserves.
Rahman submitted his resignation on Tuesday to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, according to A.F.M. Asaduzzaman, a spokesman at Bangladesh Bank. Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, who called the central bank's handling of the theft "very incompetent," said a former bureaucrat would likely take his place.
"If it's my fault, they can take action against me, against Bangladesh Bank," Rahman told Bloomberg on Tuesday before meeting with the prime minister. "But they cannot insult me in public."
The cyberheist has rattled authorities from Bangladesh to Sri Lanka to the Philippines as central banks around the globe awaken to the threat posed by hackers. The Bank of England faces "advanced, persistent" cyber threats, according to a letter by the U.K. central bank made public after a Freedom of Information request by Bloomberg.
The Bangladesh theft is also making headlines in the Philippines, where much of the stolen money ended up. On Tuesday, a bank manager accused of allowing the funds to be withdrawn invoked her right against self-incrimination as lawmakers questioned her over the crime.
Bangladesh's central bank said it recovered $20 million of the stolen funds, and $81 million is outstanding. Attempts by hackers to withdraw another $850 million were foiled in part because they misspelled the name of one of the recipients.
Rahman told reporters that he wasn't a "technical guy" and was "puzzled" by the theft. He was due to retire in August, when he turns 65, after helming the central bank for seven years. Ihsanul Karim, the prime minister's press secretary, didn't answer several calls to his mobile phone.