Terming the RCBC's defamation suit against the Bangladesh Bank baseless, a top BB official yesterday said it would not put any pressure on the central bank.
“The Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation has filed the defamation suit in retaliation to Bangladesh Bank's case to recover the fund stolen from its foreign exchange account with the New York Fed,” BB Executive Director Md Serajul Islam told The Daily Star.
On March 6, the Filipino bank filed the case with a Manila court claiming that the BB's demand for getting back the stolen money from the RCBC was “baseless”.
The Filipino bank demanded at least P100 million ($1.9m) as payment for civil damages.
Wishing anonymity, another BB official said they would fight the case. A Filipino law firm would defend the central bank.
In February 2016, cyber gangsters had taken away $81 million from the BB's account with the New York Fed. The money was slipped into the RCBC's Jupiter Street branch in Makati City. It was quickly withdrawn and eventually laundered through local casinos.
After failing to recover the money through negotiations in the last three years, the Bangladesh central bank in association with the New York Fed sued the Filipino bank at a New York court on February 1 this year.
Serajul, also the BB spokesperson, said filing of the case by the central bank put pressure on the RCBC.
On January 10, a Philippine court convicted Maia Deguito, then branch manager at the Manila-based RCBC, of money laundering, in the first conviction over the BB heist.
The BB spokesperson, however, could not name its officials sued by the RCBC as the central bank was yet to receive details about the matter.
A five-member Bangladesh team, comprised of three BB officials and two lawyers, visited the Philippines on Monday and Tuesday to discuss recovery of the fund with different organisations of the Southeast Asian country.
Officials of New York Fed also assisted the Bangladesh team in the talks.
The team, led by Abu Hena Mohammad Razee Hassan, head of the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit, is scheduled to return today.
RCBC ISSUES RELEASE
The RCBC yesterday said it filed a defamation suit against the BB for its “baseless allegation” over the $81 million cyber heist, reports Manila-based Inquirer.
The case filed with the Regional Trial Court in Makati City of Manila on March 6 was served to BB Deputy Governor Abu Hena Mohammad Razee Hasan and other officials, the RCBC said in a press release.
The bank claimed that its “reputation came under the vicious and public attack by Bangladesh Bank since 2016”.