DHAKA: Bangladesh’s central bank chief will meet the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and a senior executive from global financial messaging service SWIFT next week to seek the recovery of about $81 million stolen by hackers, officials in Dhaka said.
Two Bangladesh Bank officials said the bank believed both the New York Fed and SWIFT bore some responsibility for the February cyber heist. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity since they were not authorised to brief the media.
The bank’s governor Fazle Kabir, New York Fed President William Dudley and a SWIFT representative will meet in Basel, Switzerland, around May 10, they and another person briefed by the central bank said. It was not immediately clear who would represent SWIFT.
Spokeswomen for SWIFT and the New York Fed declined comment.
Hackers tried to steal nearly $1 billion from Bangladesh Bank’s settlement account at the New York Fed in early February by sending fraudulent transfer orders through SWIFT.
Of the 35 transfer orders sent, 30 were blocked. Four transfers to a Philippine bank for a total of $81m went through while a $20m transfer to a Sri Lankan company was reversed because the hackers mis-spelled the name of the firm.
“There is a responsibility the New York Fed has to accept,” said one of the Bangladesh Bank officials. “If you stopped 30 transactions, why did you not stop the others? “SWIFT also bears responsibility,” the official said. “It’s supposed to be a closed system. Now you have seen they have disclosed that there have been attacks previously on its software.”
A potential lawsuit by Bangladesh Bank would probably fail in the United States unless it could marshal more evidence than is currently public to show negligence by the New York Fed or SWIFT, said William Black, a professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.