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5 officials of Philippine lender charged for Bangladesh Bank cyberheist


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5 officials of Philippine lender charged for Bangladesh Bank cyberheist

Five current and former officials of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., including Treasurer Raul Victor Tan, were charged with money laundering in connection with the cyber theft of US$81 million from Bangladesh Bank accounts in 2016, BusinessWorld reported May 23.

In additon to Tan, the Philippines' Department of Justice brought the charges against ex-senior customer relationship officer Angela Ruth Torres, national sales director Ismael Reyes, regional sales director Briggite Capiña and customer service head Romualdo Agarrado. Tan resigned as treasurer and executive vice president of the lender in April.

The officials were charged with violating the anti-money laundering act. The five officials were "instrumental" in lifting the temporary hold order that allowed the funds stolen from Bangladesh Bank to be transferred from four accounts in RCBC to various casinos, according to a press statement from the Department of Justice. Their actions "in handling the suspicious remittances is unacceptable, and rocked the integrity of our banking system," said the Department of Justice.

The funds were stolen from Bangladesh Bank's account at the U.S. Federal Reserve in 2016 with the alleged help of North Korean hackers and then channeled via the Philippines-based bank's accounts in New York City and to the Philippines. Much of the funds then disappeared into the Philippines casinos.

A statement from RCBC said the five officials had no knowledge about the alleged money laundering activity and that the bank expects the complaint to be dismissed.