Bangladesh says 20 foreigners involved in theft from NY Fed

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Bangladesh investigators have determined that at least 20 foreigners were involved in the cybertheft of $101 million from the Bangladesh central bank's account in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a senior investigator said Monday.

Shah Alam, an official with the Criminal Investigation Department of the Bangladesh police, said the suspects were identified after investigators visited Sri Lanka and the Philippines, where the stolen money was transferred.

Alam would not disclose the names or nationalities of the suspects. He said more investigation is needed and officials may need to visit both countries again.

Testimony in the Philippine Senate has indicated the involvement of several Chinese.

The hackers attempted to steal $1 billion from Bangladesh Bank's account with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in early February, and successfully transferred a total of $101 million to Sri Lanka and the Philippines. Sri Lanka intercepted the $20 million transferred there and returned it to Bangladesh.

The Philippine Senate inquiry has shown that the remaining $81 million was diverted to bank accounts created with fictitious names at a branch of a Philippine bank, consolidated and then shifted to Philippine casinos and junket operators through a local remittance company.

Alam said they were investigating to determine whether any Bangladeshi officials were involved either intentionally or unknowingly in the theft, one of the world's largest cyberheists.

"We are investigating all those aspects," Alam said.