The Bangladeshi government is mulling on filing a civil suit against Solaire Resort & Casino, which is operated by Bloomberry Resorts, after their appeal to return some of the money stolen from their central bank has fallen on deaf ears.
Quoting an unnamed Finance Division official, Dhaka Tribune reported that Bangladesh’s Bank and Financial Institutions Division is likely to lodge a civil forfeiture case against Solaire and remittance firm Philrem Money Remitance Limited to retrieve the US$81 million that the hackers illegally wired to the Philippines.
The plan, according to the news sources, had informally been communicated to the Anti-Money Laundering Council. The source added that the State Minister for Finance and Planning MA Mannan is already discussing the matter in Parliament.
“We are going to file a lawsuit against Philren Money Remittance Limited and Philippine casino as per the directive given by the government high-up,” a Finance Division official told the news agency.
Bangladesh Bank deputy governor and Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit chief Abu Hena Md Razi Hasan has neither confirmed nor denied the report of the government’s plan to file such case against Solaire and Philrem.
Hasan, however, said they want to bring back the money through a “soft process” instead of using the legal options like filing case.
Aside from suing Solaire and Philrem, the source said that a high-level Bangladeshi government delegate led by the Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anisul Haq will fly to Manila this month to convince the Philippine government to include casinos to incorporate casino in the Anti-Money Laundering law of the country.
Haq is expected to talk to Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on the matter.
In February, alleged Chinese hackers stole $101m from Bangladeshi bank accounts in New York, of which US$81 million was transferred to a Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) branch in Manila. From there, the money was withdrawn through remittance firm Philrem Services Inc. and then funneled through the local casino industry by two Chinese junket operators.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has slapped a P1b (US $21.3m) “supervisory enforcement action” on Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) for not raising enough questions when $81m in questionable funds flowed through its system to the local gaming industry.
Last month a Philippines court ordered Philippines central bank to return a portion of the recovered money to Bangladesh authorities. The court also declared Bangladesh as the rightful owner of the funds, totaling US$15 million.
Bangladesh is likely to get back $15.25m of its stolen $81m from the Philippines this month. Until getting the whole money back, the government decided not to publish probe report on the central bank reserve heist.