Manila rejects BD's claim for RCBC fine money

FE Report | Published: December 04, 2019 10:12:31 | Updated: December 10, 2019 19:47:46

A security guard stands guard outside a branch of Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) in Paranaque city, Metro Manila in Philippines on August 2, 2016 — Reuters/Files

The Philippines has declined Bangladesh's claim for the 20 million US dollars the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp (RCBC) was fined for its negligence in the $81 million Bangladesh Bank heist.

"As it will take time to recover the laundered money, we have told them that at least they should give us the $20 million fine money as the fine was imposed in connection with the heist but they said that the RCBC was fined for violating the banking law of the country and Bangladesh can not claim it," Masud Bin Momen, Foreign Secretary (Asia Pacific) told a briefing after the Foreign Office Consultation between Dhaka and Manila in the city on Tuesday.

Mr Masud, who is believed to take over the charge of the Foreign Office this week, led the Bangladesh side in the consultation.

"We have also sought identity and details of the perpetrators who were involved in the bank heist," he added.

"If we get it, filing the charge sheet in the case will be easier," he said.

Responding to a question, he said since legal procedure is independent, it is not possible to mention when the stolen money amounting to $81 million can be recovered.

"Several lawsuits have been filed in connection with the incident in Bangladesh, New York and in the USA, and usually completion of the legal process takes time. So it is difficult to mention any time frame," Mr Masud elaborated.

Three years ago hackers stole $100 million from the central bank of Bangladesh. They transferred the money from an account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to personal accounts in the Philippines and Sri Lanka. The bulk of the money ($81 million) went to the Philippines and passed through the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp (RCBC), which failed to detect and stop the transactions to five accounts opened with fictitious identities.

Former RCBC branch manager Maia Deguito was found guilty of money laundering in connection to the case in 2016 and was sentenced to at least two years in jail.

He said, however, the Philippines pledged all kinds of cooperation regarding the early repatriation of the Rohingya to Myanmar.


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