$81 million stolen from Bangladesh’s Fed account transferred to Philippines

Global Business

$81 million stolen from Bangladesh’s Fed account transferred to Philippines2

The FBI and Bangladeshi authorities are now jointly investigating one of the biggest and boldest transnational cyber theft cases in the world.

One hundred million dollars disappeared from the country’s foreign reserves in the Federal Reserve Bank in New York in February. Most of the money, $81 million, was transferred to the Philippines.

CCTV’s Barnaby Lo reports how loopholes in the country’s financial system allowed this to happen and how damaging it can be for its fledgling economy.

$81 million stolen from Bangladesh’s Fed account transferred to Philippines

$81 million stolen from Bangladesh’s Fed account transferred to Philippines

The FBI and Bangladeshi authorities are now jointly investigating one of the biggest and boldest transnational cyber theft cases in the world. One hundred million dollars disappeared from the country's foreign reserves in the Federal Reserve Bank in New York in February. Most of the money, $81 million, was transferred to the Philippines. CCTV's Barnaby Lo reports how loopholes in the country's financial system allowed this to happen and how damaging it can be for its fledgling economy.

$81 million stolen off of Bangladesh’s account in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York ended up in the Philippines.

In banking in the Philippines, when someone wants to withdraw over a $1000, the teller doesn’t actually have the authority to release that money immediately to the person.

There is a so-called override authority coming from someone higher up.

So far only the branch manager of the local bank that transacted the stolen funds, Maia Deguito, has been charged by the Anti-Money Laundering Council.

It’s the reason, her lawyer says, she’s only told her side of the story in a closed-door session with senators.

The story starts with four allegedly fictitious bank accounts opened in Manila.

Once hackers were able to successfully take out $81 million from the Bangladeshi government’s offshore account, they were transferred to these four accounts, withdrawn in a matter of days, with over $50 million going to casinos.

And that is where the trail ends. Casinos in the Philippines are not required to report suspicious transactions.

The fear is that the Philippines could get blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force. If that happens, the cost of sending money to the Philippines may rise; the country’s remittance-dependent economy could suffer.

And that’s why officials say they’re moving as quickly as they can to seal cracks in the country’s financial system and save it from a potential disaster.

  • Craig Reynolds

    So let me see if I have this right. The big concern is not that Bangladesh had 81 million stolen, but rather that the Philippines might be blacklisted because of it!

    I don’t think they have their priorities in order.