Bangladesh renews bid to recover $81 million lost in money laundering

Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) - June 2, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Bangladesh government has renewed its bid to recover the $81 million it lost in a money laundering scandal which happened in Manila in 2016.

Enrique Razon-owned Bloomberry Resorts & Hotels Inc. is among 17 Philippine entities which have been slapped anew with civil complaints by the Bangladesh Bank, Bangladesh’s monetary authority.

“BRHI was informed today that the Bangladesh Bank has filed a civil complaint against RCBC and 16 other Philippine persons (including Bloomberry Resorts & Hotels Inc.) in the New York State Court. This is despite the pendency in the US Circuit Court of Appeals of the appeal of Bangladesh Bank against the dismissal of its racketeering case against the same defendants,” Bloomberry said in a regulatory filing yesterday.

The complaint in the State Court is for theft, misappropriation; aiding and abetting the same; conspiracy to commit the same; fraud (filed against RCBC), aiding and abetting and conspiracy to commit fraud; conspiracy to commit trespass against chattels; unjust enrichment; and return of money.

Bloomberry said the charges are baseless and that it would defend itself from the charges, calling it “baseless.”

The Bangladesh cyber heist happened in February 2016 when unknown criminals used fraudulent orders on the Swift payments system to steal $81 million from the Bangladesh central bank account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The money was sent to fictitious accounts at Yuchengco Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC)’s Jupiter branch in Makati City. It went to local casinos through Philrem.

The funds went to Solaire Resort and Casino and $20 million to Eastern Hawaii Casino and Resort. Solaire Resort is operated by Bloomberry.

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