US treasury department inquires about stolen reserves recovery

Dhaka,  Fri,  22 September 2017
Published : 12 Oct 2016, 00:10:45

US treasury department inquires about stolen reserves recovery

Muhith expresses hopes to retrieve half of looted money soon
From Syful Islam

WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct 11: The US treasury department inquired about progress in recovering the money cyber-criminals looted from the Bangladesh reserves with the Fed.

Officials said the query was made when Deputy Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere and South Asia of the United States treasury department Michael Kaplan met Bangladesh Bank governor Fazle Kabir at the World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C., last Saturday.

"Yes, he inquired about the progress in recovering the money. I apprised him about the progress," Mr Kabir told the FE.

Asked whether Mr Kaplan wanted to know about the probe- report details, he answered in the negative. "They have no concern on it."

Meanwhile, Finance Minister AMA Muhith, who attended three-day annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund here during October 07-09, told newsmen that none did ask him either about the stolen money or about the publication of probe report.

"No, none asked me about it. Maybe, the governor has been inquired by someone," he said.

However, replying to a query, Mr Muhith said process is underway to get back the money from the Philippines. "So, we are not going to make hue and cry about it or filing any case."

He assumed that some 45 to 50 million dollars of the reserve money could be recovered soon.

"Until now, the amount could be identified. The rest will be recovered when traced," said the finance minister.

Cyber-criminals stole $101 million from the Bangladesh Bank reserves with the US Federal Reserve Bank February last in what is dubbed largest such trans-national cyber-heist.

A portion of the money has already been recovered. A larger sum of the stolen money landed in the casino market in the Philippines. The government is firm about recovering the entire money lost.

After the cyber-heist incident, the government formed an official probe body which submitted its final report in May. After receiving the report Mr Muhith mentioned several dates for publishing the report.

However, the minister on September 21 told reporters that the report would not be made public now for the sake of recovery of the entire money from the Philippines.
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