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Philippines' Rizal Bank fined $21.3 million in cybertheft

The fine will be paid in two installments by Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation.

By
Ed Adamczyk
Manila's Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. was fined $21.3 million by the Philippines Central Bank for its role in the cybertheft from the Bangladesh Central Bank. Photo courtesy of the Philippine Stock Exchange
Manila's Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. was fined $21.3 million by the Philippines Central Bank for its role in the cybertheft from the Bangladesh Central Bank. Photo courtesy of the Philippine Stock Exchange

MANILA, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- A bank in the Philippines was ordered to pay a $21.3 million fine for its involvement in an $81 million cybertheft of Bangladesh Bank reserves.

A statement Friday from Bankgo Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Philippines' central bank, did not specify violations committed by Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation, but said the fine was the largest amount it has ever ordered. The bank said the fine would be paid in two installments over a one-year period, and that provisions for the penalty, and the installation of improved money-laundering safeguards, have been made.

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The Bangladeshi Central Bank is still searching for much of the $81 million stolen after thieves hacked into its U.S. Federal Reserve Bank account in February and routed the money to Rizal Bank accounts. The money later disappeared through at least two Philippines casinos.

The new president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, committed his country to tracing the theft and helping Bangladesh recover the funds.

John Gomes, Bangladesh ambassador to the Philippines, said Friday, "Our quest is to recover the $81 million and we hold RCBC responsible. We are not a very rich country; $81 million is a lot of money for a country like us."

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