Dhaka – A Philippines court has ordered a bank in the country to return $15.25 million to Bangladesh as the amount was recovered after criminals hacked $81 million from Bangladesh central bank account with New York Federal Reserve earlier this year, officials said on Monday.
The court asked Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to return the amount, said Bangladesh Bank’s) general manager Dev Prashad.
The amount will be deposited to the Bangladesh Bank’s forex reserve within few days, added the official.
He said the amount was currently kept at Philippines central bank vault to be released “in favour of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh” in line with a court order.
The official said once the money was returned from Manila Bangladesh Bank would be able to recover a total of $35.25 million out of $101 million stolen from Bangladesh’s account at the New York Fed on February 4 this year.
“The court has declared Bangladesh as the rightful owner of the funds, totaling $15 million,” a report from the Philippines capital said quoting chief state counsel of the Philippines’ Department of Justice Ricardo Paras III as saying.
Unknown hackers transferred $81 million to four accounts at Rizal Commercial Banking Corp in Manila and another $20 million to a bank in Sri Lanka.
The central bank was able to bring bank $20 million from Sri Lanka as the transfer of money to the neighboring country was failed because of a spelling error by the hackers.
Central bank deputy governor Abu Hena Mohammad Razee Hassan said that on August 26 the Department of Justice of Philippines applied to a court there under Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) Request sent by Bangladesh to complete the formalities of returning US$15.25 million.
Bangladesh sent affidavit and other necessary documents to the offices concerned of the Philippines to obtain the court ruling there to get back the amount which was earlier confiscated on a court order there on July 1.
The Philippines central bank earlier slapped a record $21 million fine on Rizal Commercial Banking Corp in Manila, which was used as a channel to launder the amount, according to state-run Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha news agency.