DHAKA: Bangladesh’s central bank chief resigned on Tuesday, after hackers stole $81 million from the nation’s foreign reserves in one of the biggest bank heists in history, the finance minister said.
The audacious cyber-theft has embarrassed the government, triggered outrage in the impoverished country and raised alarm over the security of the country’s foreign exchange reserves of over $27 billion.
On Tuesday the finance minister said Atiur Rahman had stood down at his request, after revealing that the Bangladesh Bank governor failed to inform authorities of the theft for a month.
“He called me yesterday and I’ve asked him to resign. And he has resigned today,” minister A.M.A. Muhith told AFP, adding that the government has ordered a probe into the heist.
Two of the bank’s deputy governors were also sacked after the government vowed a major shake-up of the institution’s top management, Muhith told reporters.
On Feb 5, the hackers stole $81m from an account that Bangladesh held with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and transferred the cash electronically to accounts in the Philippines.
They attempted to steal almost $1 billion and were only prevented from taking more because of a basic typing error, the Bangladesh Bank’s deputy governor told AFP last week.
Before his resignation, an emotional Rahman said he was alarmed by the hack but did not comment on why he took so long to report the missing money.
“This event was almost like a militant attack, almost like an earthquake. I did not realise how it happened, from where it originated and who had done it,” he said, choking back tears.