Written by Staff Writer
19 Apr, 2016 | 12:51 pm
Bangladeshi investigators have identified 20 foreigners – 12 Philippine nationals and eight Sri Lankans – suspected to have been involved in the cyber heist of 101 million US dollars from its central bank.
International media reports indicate that the suspects appear to be those who received some of the payments, and not the hackers.
Minister of Finance, Ravi Karunanayake, speaking at a press briefing at the World Bank Spring Summit 2016 in Washington recently, stated that an investigation regarding the incident is underway.
Unknown hackers breached Bangladesh Bank’s systems between Feb. 4 and Feb. 5 and tried to steal nearly $1 billion from its account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Many of the payments were blocked, but $20 million made its way to the Shalika Foundation account at a bank branch in Bambalapitiya, before the transfer was reversed.
Bangladesh central bank officers said they acted after a routing bank, sought clarification on the transfer because hackers misspelled the company’s name as “Fundation.”
The Financial Intelligence Unit of the Central Bank had referred their investigation to the Criminal Investigations Department.Another $81 million was routed to accounts in the Philippines, and diverted to casinos there
The hackers introduced malicious code, known as malware into the Bangladesh bank’s server, which allowed them to process and authorize the transactions with the New York Fed.
After progress into the investigation was reported to court here in Sri Lanka, Directors of the Shalika Foundation, namely Shalika Perera, Miulin Ranasinghe, Pradeep Rohitha, Shantha Nalaka, Sanjeewa Tissa Bandara and Shirani Dhammikaa Fernando, were banned from overseas travel.
Meanwhile, an individual known as W.M. Priyankara Jayadeva, an aquaintance of Shalika Perera, who according to Perera hoodwinked her into the transaction, has also been banned from overseas travel.However, the CID reported to Court that Jayadeva could not be found at his place of residence.
Shalika, told Reuters she expected $20 million to come from the Japan International Cooperation Agency or JICA to help fund a power plant and other projects in Sri Lanka.She said she had no direct dealing with JICA, but the deal was arranged by the acquaintance who she met in Sri Lanka but had connections in Japan.
JICA, a Japanese government agency that provides official development assistance, said it has no ties with Shalika Foundation, including through any intermediaries.
The Bangladesh Police have secured the support of Interpol in the investigation.
“As for the Bangladesh situation, as you know, we were the ones who ensured that it did not spill off to the rest the world”said the Minister of Finance,Ravi Karunanayake who pointed out that the protection of Sri Lanka central bank authorities and other commercial bank activities is being looked at
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