The Financial Express

Reserve heist

US action against N Korean hacker a major progress: BB

| Updated: September 21, 2018 11:02:29

Lankabangla and Fianancial Express Lankabangla and Fianancial Express
Commuters pass by the front of the Bangladesh central bank building in Dhaka, March 8, 2016. Reuters/File Photo Commuters pass by the front of the Bangladesh central bank building in Dhaka, March 8, 2016. Reuters/File Photo

Bangladesh will examine the legal aspects of being a party to the criminal case against a North Korean hacker charged by the US justice department for cyber-attack on the Fed.

In February 2016, the cyber-criminals stole US$101 million from the Bangladesh Bank's (BB) reserves deposited with the US Federal Reserve Bank in New York.

The US department of justice announced on Thursday that Park Jin Hyok played role in the 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack, the 2016 attack on US Fed, and the 2014 hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

"Officials involved in the reserve hack investigation will certainly analyse the legal side of the matter," BB deputy governor Abu Hena Mohd Razee Hassan told the FE on Friday.

He said from the very beginning of the hacking incident, Bangladesh has been working keeping two issues in mind.

"We wanted both the recovery of the money and the punishment of criminals involved," said Mr Hassan.

He said Bangladesh's money was stolen from Fed in New York.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had been investigating the issue from the beginning while the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) is investing the incident in Bangladesh.

Mr Hassan also said Bangladeshi officials visited US Fed, met officials of the US department of justice, the FBI, and others on several occasions in their bid to recover the money.

"I believe, FBI charged the North Korean hacker after collecting adequate documents against him. I must say it's a major progress," he said.

Asked whether the central bank would file a case against the hacker, Mr Hassan said the CID will be the right agency for this.

"You need proofs and documents to file the case against someone. Once the investigation of CID is completed, we can consider it," he added.

Meanwhile, the BB is getting prepared to file the case against Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) of the Philippines by January next unless the stolen reserve money is not recovered normally.

A lawyer has already been hired to look into the matter.

Until February next, Bangladesh has the time to file the case in the US, while it has time until February 2020 if it wishes to lodge the case in the Philippines.

Of the total $101 million, some $20 million was recovered from Sri Lanka.

The lion's share of the booty landed in the Philippines and that is reported to have been squandered through gaming in casinos, among other matters of misdealings.

Latter, some $15 million more could be recovered from the Philippines.

However, there is no headway in recovering the remaining over $66 million from the Philippines.

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