Bangladesh receives roughly 20% of stolen amount from Philippines

Dhaka, Dhaka Division, BangladeshUpdated: Nov 13, 2016, 12:52 AM IST

File photo: The facade of the Bangladesh central bank building in Dhaka. Photograph:(Reuters)

Bangladesh's central bank has retrieved just under a fifth of the $81 million that was stolen from its account at the New York Federal Reserve in February, a Bangladesh Bank official said on Saturday.

Philippines authorities handed over $15.25 million to Bangladesh's ambassador to the Philippines, said the Bank's deputy governor Abu Hena Mohammad Razee Hassan, who heads its financial intelligence unit.

The money should be credited to the Bank's Fed account on Monday, he told Reuters, adding: "We will now go for the rest of fund."

In February, unknown hackers used stolen Bangladesh Bank credentials to try to send three dozen SWIFT messages to transfer nearly $1 billion from its Fed account. They succeeded in transferring $81 million to four accounts at Rizal Commercial Banking Corp in Manila. Most of the money was laundered through casinos in Manila and remains missing.

A Bangladesh Bank delegation went to Manila this week to work on moving back part of the funds.

A Philippine court in September adjudged that Bangladesh Bank was the rightful owner of around $15.25 million surrendered by casino boss Kim Wong and his Eastern Hawaii Leisure Company, according to a court order.

Wong, who returned $4.63 million and 488.28 million pesos ($10.05 million) to Philippine authorities from millions of dollars he took from two Chinese high-rollers, has denied any role in one of the world's biggest cyber heists.