The Department of Finance (DOF) has vowed to fully support the government of Bangladesh in its efforts to recover the $81 million stolen by cyber thieves in February.
In a statement on Wednesday, the DOF said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd has assured Bangladesh Ambassador to Manila John Gomes of the Philippines’ “100 percent support.” However, Dominguez pointed out that recovery efforts will have to go through proper legal procedures.
During a meeting with the ambassador on Friday last week, Dominguez said the immediate objective is for Bangladesh to recover $15 million of the $81 million that the Regional Trial Court of Manila forfeited on July 7 and ordered kept in the vault of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
“We want to assure you that the Philippine government, including all its instrumentalities from the central bank, the DOJ [Department of Justice], DFA [Department of Foreign Affairs], and of course the AMLC [Anti-Money Laundering Council], are 100 percent behind you, that we want to assure you that we will do everything that we can to assist you,” he said.
“We have, however, a legal system that has to be respected and this system has to be followed so that whatever claim you are awarded, nobody can challenge that in the future,” Dominguez noted.
The $15 million was turned over by casino junket operator Kim Wong in the course of the Senate investigation into the cyber heist.
The DOJ filed a petition at the Manila RTC asking that the $15 million be forfeited in favor of Bangladesh.
DOJ Chief State Prosecutor Ricardo Paras 3rd said P107.35 million of the stolen fund, roughly equivalent to $2.3 million, was voluntarily frozen by Bloomberry Resorts and Hotels Inc. (Solaire casino).