Bangladesh Bank heist: Philippine justice dept assures assistance

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The Department of Justice of the Philippines pledged on Friday (10 March) to resolve any remaining issue regarding the Bangladesh Bank heist in 2016, Philippine News Agency reported.

“We are trying to be of assistance to them. When our foreign friends ask for assistance, we do that. Tinutulungan talaga natin kasi (We help because) it’s a natural thing for us to do, between friendly nations. Remember that the Philippines was one of the first countries to recognize Bangladesh when it got its independence (in 1971),” DOJ Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla told reporters.

“He is asking the DOJ to step in for an earlier settlement. Alam nyo naman (You know), litigation could be very expensive,” Remulla said, referring to Bangladeshi Ambassador to the Philippines Borhan Uddin.

The $101 million heist that involved a software attack exposed the need for banks to have proper security controls.

The majority of the stolen funds were transferred to a bank in the Philippines, while $20 million were identified in Sri Lanka and subsequently recovered. However, only $18 million have been returned from the Philippines as of 2018.

International reports state that the Supreme Court of New York has rejected the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation’s (RCBC) request to dismiss a complaint filed by the Bangladesh Bank. The decision, issued on January 13, found that RCBC had “intentional participation” in the intentional theft of funds from the Bangladesh Bank’s New York account.

Despite the ruling, RCBC has stated that it plans to appeal the decision regarding the denial of its motion to dismiss the complaint.

According to a report from Dhaka-based publication, The Business Standard, the court noted that if RCBC’s New York account was not utilized and the company did not collaborate with the accused in the Philippines, then it would have been impossible for the funds to leave the Federal Reserve Bank.

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