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Bangladesh envoy frustrated with $81m heist money recovery

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FT ONLINE

Bangladesh Ambassador to the Philippines Asad Alam Siam has expressed frustration with the current pace of recovering money lost in last year’s $81-million heist from Bangladesh Bank’s account with the Federal Reserve in New York.
In an interview with a local TV channel on Thursday, the ambassador expressed hopes of recovering money, but admitted there was “immense pressure” to achieve results more than a year after the incident.
“Yes, there is a sense of frustration back home,” he said in the interview.
Bangladesh Bank sent a team to Manila this week to expedite the recovery of $81 million that were stolen by hackers in February last year and stashed in the Philippines.
Asad Alam Siam said the Philippine government promised Bangladesh “all out efforts and cooperation” in recovering the stolen money.
“We are having high expectations from our Filipino colleagues in fact, because this admin[istration] is very much against any sort of corruption and transnational crimes like the heist one, so let’s see,” Siam said.
He said the money was supposed to be used for poverty alleviation programmes such as children’s education and immunization.
A key personality in the money laundering scheme, dismissed Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) bank manager Maia Deguito was indicted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on August 30.
Eight counts of violations of the Anti-Money Laundering Act were filed against Deguito and four account holders, namely Michael Francisco Cruz, Jessie Christopher Lagrosas, Alfred Santos Vergara, and Enrico Teodoro Vasquez. The accounts were later discovered to have been faked.
The case had since been raffled off to four branches of the Makati City Regional Trial Court.

-NK

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