SWIFT heist money ends up in Manila casino

News by Roi Perez

News agency Reuters is reporting that US$15 million of the US$81 million stolen from the Central Bank of Bangladesh through the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication's (SWIFT) systems ended up in a casino in Manila, Philippines.

Kim Wong, casino mogul who owns the Eastern Hawaii Leisure Company surrendered the funds, claiming the money came from two Chinese high-rollers.

John Gomes, Bangladesh's ambassador to the Philippines, told Reuters they aren't done yet: “now that the process on this $15 million is more or less completed, we will go for the rest”.

This recovery of funds follows a judgement by a Filipino court, which ruled in September that the money belongs to the Bangladesh Bank.

The saga began in February 2016 when malware was implemented on a SWIFT terminal used by Bangladesh's central bank. It was accessible to hackers because the network had no firewall.

SWIFT said the Bangladeshi bank had antiquated security and reacted by threatening to suspend other banks that fail to bolster their security defences. Despite this, attackers stole US$10 million from the Ukraine in June, and in August went on to send yet another warning that other banks had been compromised.

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