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BB cyber heist: Info on N. Korean nat'l to be sought

CID to share facts with US officials

By Special Correspondent
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The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Police will convene a meeting with US officials to exchange findings of Bangladesh Bank's reserve heist investigation in which North Korean hackers have been blamed.
"We will hold the meeting with US embassy officials in Bangladesh by this week to share the findings of Bangladesh Bank's cyber heist probe," Molla Nazrul Islam, Special Superintendent of CID told The New Nation yesterday.
Unidentified hackers stole $81 million from Bangladesh Bank's account at the US Federal Reserve Bank of New York (NY Fed) in February 2016, using fraudulent orders on the SWIFT payments system.
The money was sent to accounts at Manila-based Rizal Commercial Banking Corp (RCBC) and then disappeared into the country's infamous casino industry.
The robbery prompted investigations in the Philippines, Bangladesh and by the USA.
In Bangladesh the Organized Crime Division of CID is investigating the theft while the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) probing it in the USA.
The FBI on Friday charged a North Korean computer programmer with a series of high-profile cyber attacks including the 2017 Wanna Cry ransomware attack, the hacking of Sony Pictures in 2014 and Bangladesh Bank in 2016.
The US says Park Jin Hyok was working for a North Korean-sponsored hacking organization that also targets a host of government agencies and businesses worldwide.
Molla Nazrul Islam said the FBI has charged the North Korean national for conspiring with others to steal $81 million from Bangladesh Bank's reserve in New York Fed.
"We will request the US officials for verification regarding accusation against the North Korean citizen. Later, we will also sit with FBI officials over the issue for next course of action," he said.
The CID official said, "Foreign nationals were found involved in the cyber heist and we're communicating with these countries demanding their whereabouts in the interest of the probe and to proceed with legal actions."     
CID was assigned to dig out the facts of the BB heist following a case filed by the central bank on March 15, 2016 with Motijheel Police Station under money-laundering prevention act and Information and Communication Technology Act.
But the special police agency is yet to submit the investigation report of the case despite repeated extension of time by court. A Dhaka court has fixed the next deadline on October 2 this year.
The BB heist was widely condemned and the government has taken seriously and ordered all the agencies to find out cause and facts.
It also formed a high-profile taskforce to expedite the process for recovery of the stolen fund that channeled through the banking system into Philippines.
However, by the prompt action of the Philippines court, an insignificant portion of the stolen fund (US$15.54 million) was recovered and handed over to the Bangladesh authority in late 2016.  The remaining $66.46 millions are yet to be retrieved from the Philippines.
Meanwhile, the BB decided to file a joint lawsuit against the Philippines' Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation and the US Federal Reserve Bank amid growing uncertainty over retrieving major chunk of its heist fund.
The case will be filed with a New York court by January next year, a month before ending the deadline of filing the lawsuit, said Md Eunusur Rahman, the immediate past Secretary for Bank and Financial Institutions Division, last month.
The decision came from an inter-agency taskforce meeting held at the Bangladesh Secretariat on August 5 last.
"We're continuing our endeavors to retrieve rest of the stolen funds," said Abu Hena Mohd Razee Hassan, Deputy Governor of the central bank.

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