Finance Minister AMA Muhith has again made it clear he will not release Bangladesh Bank money heists report until the right time to facilitate the recovery of money from the Philippines. According to his latest public confirmation, the report was scheduled to go online on the finance ministry’s website (today) Thursday
Meanwhile, a Philippines court on September 19 ordered the country’s central bank to return nearly $15 million, a part of the Bangladesh Bank’s stolen fund that has been recovered, to Bangladesh Bank.
The court ruled that the BB is the legal owner of the funds, which were wired into the island nation’s banking system by unknown hackers in February this year, BB officials said.
Bangko Sentral Pilipinas (BSP), the central bank of the Philippines, will now have to comply with the court order, BB officials said. The recovered money is now in the vault of the Philippines central bank.
Back in Dhaka, Muhith’a backtracking to release the Bangladesh government investigation report came at a time when a news report from Manila said the authorities are waiting there for the release of investigation report of Bangladesh government on money hest to fix the blame about the money heist.
In this background, Mihith deferred the release of the report again. He told reporters on Wednesday that “We filed cases there [in the Philippines]. They will be upset if the report is made public now,” Finance Minister AMA Muhith told reporters yesterday after a meeting of the cabinet committees on economic affairs and purchase.
Earlier, Muhith said the report would be released before his two-week tour of a number of countries, including the US, which starts on Saturday.
“Now it will not happen in my absence. We can’t say when it will be published, but it will definitely be published later,” he added.
A three-member government-formed committee led by former Bangladesh Bank Governor Mohammed Farashuddin submitted the report to the finance ministry on May 30. Since then, Muhith on several occasions pledged to publish it.
On July 21, the minister told the parliament that the probe report on the heist will be made public within the “next few days”.
Muhith said separate discussions with the law minister and the attorney general over the matter led him to decide not to publish the report for now.
In February, $101 million was hacked from the BB’s reserve account with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Fed. Of the sum, $81 million was siphoned off to the Philippines and $20 million to Sri Lanka.
Bangladesh has already got back the money laundered to Sri Lanka. Of the $81 million, the Philippines court gave an order to return $15 million to Bangladesh and the amount would be deposited to the BB account in a few days.
The finance minister yesterday said he is hopeful of getting back almost 100 percent of the stolen money.
Muhith said Bangladesh’s ambassador to the Philippines met the new president of the country and invited him to visit Bangladesh.
President Rodrigo Duterte told the ambassador that he will not visit Bangladesh until his country returns the money, the finance minister added.