Bangladesh Bank heist shows weak spots in finance safeguards

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The laundering through the Philippines of $81 million stolen by hackers from a U.S. Federal Reserve account is adding to pressures on the Southeast Asian country to fix loopholes in its financial regime.

It also highlights a potential pitfall in global anti-money laundering efforts, which in the case of the Philippines has focused more on vanquishing terrorist financing than on preventing misuse of the financial system by banks and casinos.

The disclosure of the theft from an account of the Bangladesh central bank at the New York Fed, has given such issues fresh traction as details emerge of how the money ended up in the Philippines.

Comments at a Senate hearing on the case showed the bank's staff knew something was amiss weeks before the Bangladesh Bank announced the theft.