Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith says Bangladesh will receive the $15 million recovered portion of the $81 million stolen from the Philippines central bank ‘within one or two days’.
“Either we have already got it, or will get it today or tomorrow. I think we’ve already got it,” he told reporters on Tuesday at the Secretariat.
But he could not say how much money from the total amount stolen in February was still in the banking channel. “We don’t know right now.”
Abul Maal Abdul Muhith. File photo
His remarks came a day after a Philippine regional trial court ordered the country’s central bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), to return to the Bangladesh Bank the recovered portion.
The court also declared Bangladesh to be the rightful owner of the funds, totalling $15 million.
Ricardo Paras III, chief state counsel of the Philippines’ Department of Justice, on Monday told Reuters, “(The) court ordered the release of the cash now in the BSP vault in favour of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.”
Bangladesh had to file a petition staking its claim to the money before it could be turned over to it.
After the Philippine court issued the order, Bangladesh Bank officials expressed hope that rest of the stolen money would be recovered too.
Unknown hackers tried to steal nearly $1 billion from the Bangladesh Bank’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in early February, and succeeded in transferring $81 million to four accounts at Rizal Commercial Banking Corp in Manila.
After conversion into the local currency, the money made its way to gambling dens there, making it impossible to be recovered.
During a Philippine Senate hearing into the heist which ended in May, a casino junket operator claimed to have received $35 million of the stolen funds but only returned $15 million.
It is not clear what happened to the rest of the money.
Source: Bd news24