Bangladesh central bank sued for defamation over US$81m theft

Business | 12 Mar 2019 4:10 pm

A Philippine bank has filed a lawsuit accusing Bangladesh’s central bank of defamation, hitting back at what it says are baseless claims of its complicity in the world’s biggest cyber heist, Reuters reports.

In February 2016, criminals used fraudulent orders on the SWIFT payments system to steal US$81 million from the Bangladesh central bank’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The money was sent to accounts at Manila-based Rizal Commercial Banking Corp (RCBC) and then vanished into the casino industry in the Philippines.

RCBC said its reputation had come under a sustained "vicious and public attack” by Bangladesh Bank. It is seeking at least 100 million pesos (US$1.9 million) in damages.

"Bangladesh Bank has embarked on a massive ploy and scheme to extort money from plaintiff RCBC by resorting to public defamation, harassment and threats geared towards destroying RCBC’s good name, reputation, and image,” it said in a statement today, citing the civil court filing on March 6.

It said the motive was to get RCBC to return money it neither had, nor owed.

Bangladesh Bank declined to comment.

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