Bangladesh central bank team in Manila to retrieve cyber heist funds
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Commuters pass by the front of the Bangladesh central bank building in Dhaka March 8, 2016. REUTERS/Ashikur Rahman/File Photo
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(Reuters) - A Bangladesh central bank team arrived in Manila on Monday to work on moving back part of the $81 million stolen from its account in the New York Federal Reserve in February and sent to the Philippines, a Bangladeshi official said.
A Philippine court in September adjudged that Bangladesh Bank was the rightful owner of around $15 million surrendered by casino boss Kim Wong and his Eastern Hawaii Leisure Company, according to a court order seen by Reuters.
Wong, who returned $4.63 million and 488.28 million pesos ($10.05 million) to Philippine authorities from the millions of dollars he took from two Chinese high-rollers, has denied any role in one of the world's biggest cyber heists.
The $15 million recovered from the total heisted is now secure in the vaults of the Philippine central bank, said John Gomes, Bangladesh's ambassador to the Philippines, who attended a count of the money last week.
"The writ of execution that the money be handed back to Bangladesh has already been done by the court," Gomes said. "The good thing is now that the process on this $15 million is more or less completed, we will go for the rest."
A source close to Bangladesh Bank confirmed the visit by the Dhaka officials to retrieve the money.
Bangladesh Bank spokesman Subhankar Saha did not respond to calls seeking comment.
In the Philippine capital, the central bank, Bangko Sentral, directed Reuters to the Anti-Money Laundering Council, which, in turn, deflected the query to the department of justice.
Ricardo V. Paras, the Philippine justice department official who represented the Bangladesh government in court, did not return telephone calls to seek comment.
(Reporting by Krishna N. Das and Karen Lema; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
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