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Kamal on BBC money heist report: Cannot comment, it is sub judice

  • Published at 03:29 pm June 23rd, 2021
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal virtually briefs the media on the outcomes of the Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase meeting on Wednesday, June 23, 2021 PID

The BBC recently ran a number of stories on the money heist by cyber hackers from the country’s central bank

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has refused to comment on a recent report run by BBC on the $101 million heist from Bangladesh Bank by hackers, saying the matter is sub judice.

“I do not want to comment on the issue as this is sub judice as the trial is ongoing in court,” he told reporters on Wednesday during a press briefing on the outcomes of the Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase meeting.

The BBC recently ran a number of stories on the money heist by cyber hackers from the country’s central bank.

It detailed how the hackers did the robbery in February 2016 with a target to illegally transfer close to $1 billion from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York account belonging to Bangladesh Bank.

They were successful in transferring $101 million, with US$20 million traced to Sri Lanka and $81 million to the Philippines. The money transferred to Sri Lanka has since been recovered.

Also Read - The Lazarus heist: How North Korea almost stole $1 billion from Bangladesh

But no success came in recovering money from Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) of the Philippines and finally Bangladeshi filed a legal case against the Pilipino bank with US District Court for the Southern District of New York, which remains pending in the legal process.

Responding to another question, Mustafa Kamal informed that the Health and Family Welfare Ministry is responsible to move further if Serum Institute of India fails to provide its committed Covid-19 vaccines against Bangladesh's payment.

“India is also struggling with the Covid-19 pandemic like us. So, they will take a decision considering all aspects to seek money back if Serum fails to execute the deal,” he said.

On a question on meeting the national budget deficit of 6.2% in the coming fiscal 2021-22, the finance minister said many developed and developing countries have huge budgets like 18.72% in the USA, 13.7% in India, 12.9% in Japan and 6.2% in Vietnam.

But Bangladesh has been successful in South Asia to make the highest economic growth with rising exports, foreign exchange reserves and remittance, he said.

He noted that he did not receive any proposal from the BGMEA and the BKMEA to provide further stimulus packages to help them.

He said there are huge challenges in the implementation of the new budget while opportunities are also being created through it.

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