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US suspects N Korea in USD 81 mn Bangladesh theft: report

Washington: US federal prosecutors suspect the North Korean government directed last year’s theft of USD 81 million from Bangladesh’s account at the New York Federal Reserve Bank, according to a media report.

Citing unnamed sources, The Wall Street Journal yesterday said prosecutors were developing cases showing Chinese middlemen helped the North Korean government orchestrate the enormous theft from the Bangladesh central bank.

In February 2016, thieves transferred the funds from Bangladesh’s account at the New York Fed to accounts in the Philippines using authenticated international bank access codes in the SWIFT system, not by hacking the bank.

It was unclear when or if any charges would be filed but any case might implicate North Korea without charging North Korean officials.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from AFP.

Researchers at the security firm Symantec previously had linked the huge theft to a series of cyber-attacks on the US financial system and the 2014 hacking of Sony Pictures.