Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Philippines Asks for $81 Million Cyber Heist Probe Results

  • Finance minister says Philippines committed to help find cash
  • Philippines has recovered $15 million from $81 million heist

The Philippines asked Bangladesh for the results of its investigation into a $81 million cyber heist as it commits to help the Bangladesh central bank recover stolen reserves, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said in a statement.

Dominguez and other Philippine officials met last week with a high-level delegation from Bangladesh, led by Anisul Huq, the south Asian nation’s Minister of justice. The delegation thanked the Philippine government for helping in the return of $15 million of the funds stolen by hackers in February from the Bangladesh Bank, and which found its way to the Philippines, the Department of Finance said in a statement.

The hackers stole $81 million from Bangladesh Bank’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which said instructions to make the payments were authenticated by the SWIFT message system, widely used by financial institutions. The episode highlighted vulnerable links in the payment network underlying the global financial system.

Dominguez said the government will continue to help recover the rest of the funds following processes required under Philippine laws. At the meeting, Philippine officials asked that Bangladesh share with the Department of Justice and the Anti-Money Laundering Council the results of its investigation into the heist.

“There were certain judicial processes . . . that you had to go through to make sure that there would be no challenge to your taking the funds,” Dominguez was quoted as telling the Bangladesh delegation. “We are pursuing lawsuits on your behalf, actually, as vigorously as we can.”
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla asked Bangladesh officials for a full report on the investigation to strengthen the Philippine government’s position on behalf of Bangladesh in the court proceedings, the Department of Finance said in the statement. The Bangladesh officials have committed to sending updates on the probe, it said.

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