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FBI To Assist Bangladesh In Investigating Central Bank Robbery

Finance minister says the cyber heist at Bangladesh Bank was not possible without insider involvement

Photo Credit : Reuters


The FBI will help Bangladesh to probe the audacious central bank cyber heist from its foreign exchange account, authorities said on Monday, days after finance minister hinted at insider involvement in the $81 million scam that shocked the financial world.

"The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will team up with Bangladesh police's Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to investigate the cyber heist at Bangladesh Bank's account with New York's Federal Reserve Bank," said CID's additional Deputy Inspector General Shah Alam after a meeting a senior FBI official.

"The meeting's agenda spanned around technical aspects. We will have cyber experts who will trace the IP address of the hackers and the financial beneficiaries," Shah Alam was quoted as saying by the Daily Star.

Earlier on Friday, Finance minister AMA Muhith has hinted at insider involvement in the cross-country heist.

"Of course, it (heist) would have never been possible unless some of the local people (Bangladesh Bank officials) were involved...the order for the transaction has to be complied with only after biometrics of six people are confirmed," Muhith has said.

In a scam that shocked the financial world, unknown hackers tried to steal around $1 billion from Bangladesh's deposits with the US Federal Reserve in New York on February 5, using information stolen through the malware.

They got away with $81 million which was entered into the banking system of the Philippines while some amount to the Sri Lanka visibly to be used in casino businesses.

The issue came to surface only after a month and resulted in major changes to Bangladesh Bank's management.

Bangladesh central bank governor Atiur Rahman, his two deputies and the country's top banking bureaucrat lost their jobs following the theft that has raised serious questions over the safety of its foreign exchange reserves of over $27 billion.

Uncertainty over the recovery of the stolen amount from the Philippines remain as reports from Manila said the amount by now appeared to have transferred out of the country.