Bangladesh Central Bank Chief Quits Over $101 Million Heist - Sabi Tips

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Bangladesh Central Bank Chief Quits Over $101 Million Heist




Bangladesh central bank governor
Atiur Rahman has submitted his
resignation as tensions escalate with
the finance minister after hackers
stole about $101 million from the
nation’s foreign reserves.



Rahman submitted his resignation onTuesday to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, according to A.F.M. Asaduzzaman, a
spokesman at Bangladesh Bank.
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul
Muhith, who called the central bank’s
handling of the theft " very
incompetent," said a former
bureaucrat would likely take his
place.
"If it’s my fault, they can take action
against me, against Bangladesh
Bank," Rahman told Bloomberg on
Tuesday before meeting with the
prime minister. “But they cannot
insult me in public."

The cyberheist has rattled authorities
from Bangladesh to Sri Lanka to the
Philippines as central banks around
the globe awaken to the threat posed
by hackers. The Bank of England
faces “ advanced, persistent" cyber
threats, according to a letter by the
U.K. central bank made public after a
Freedom of Information request by
Bloomberg.

Philippine Connection
The Bangladesh theft is also making
headlines in the Philippines, where
much of the stolen money ended up.
On Tuesday, a bank manager accused
of allowing the funds to be
withdrawn invoked her right against
self-incrimination as lawmakers
questioned her over the crime.

Bangladesh’s central bank said it
recovered $20 million of the stolen
funds, and $81 million is
outstanding.

Attempts by hackers to
withdraw another $850 million were
foiled in part because they misspelled
the name of one of the recipients.
Rahman told reporters that he wasn’t
a “technical guy" and was “puzzled"
by the theft. He was due to retire in
August, when he turns 65, after
helming the central bank for seven
years. Ihsanul Karim, the prime
minister’s press secretary, didn’t
answer several calls to his mobile
phone.

Fazle Kabir, a career bureaucrat, is
likely to be appointed as
Bangladesh’s next central bank
governor, Muhith told reporters on
Tuesday.

Kabir spent 34 years
working for Bangladesh’s
government, including a stint as
Finance Secretary, and is currently
chairman of state-owned Sonali Bank
Ltd.
‘Quite Shocking’
Bangladesh could’ve done more to
monitor its accounts and detect
suspicious activity faster, according
to security experts including Andrey
Dulkin of Jerusalem-based CyberArk.
The country should be “very
concerned" about the risk of copy-cat
attacks, said Victor Keong, a partner
at consultant Deloitte Touche
Tohmatsu Ltd. in Singapore.
“It is quite shocking," Keong said. “If
a central bank can have such lapses
-- and it is the regulator -- then those
it regulates might not be so well
protected.”
Born to a poor family, Rahman had
briefly quit school due to a lack of
money before graduating from
Dhaka University. He wrote a
doctoral thesis titled “Peasants and
Classes” at the School of Oriental and
African Studies in London. He was
named Central Bank Governor of the
Year for Asia 2015 by the Emerging
Markets newspaper, following India’s
Raghuram Rajan and China’s Zhou
Xiaochuan.
“We have embarked on an era of
new central banking which has got a
distinct developmental focus,”
Rahman told Bloomberg News last
year. “That focus is inclusivity and
environmental sustainability, which
was never reflected in any monetary
policy anywhere in the world.”

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