The U.S. Federal Reserve is responsible for at least $100 million stolen from Bangladesh’s account, according to Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith.
Bangladesh plans a legal fight to retrieve the missing funds, Muhith told reporters in the capital Dhaka on Tuesday. Bangladesh’s central bank said Monday that funds had been stolen from an account by hackers, and that it had traced some of the missing money to the Philippines, where it was working with local authorities.
“We kept money with the Federal Reserve Bank and irregularities must be with the people who handle the funds there,” Muhith said. “It can’t be that they don’t have any responsibility.”
A clear picture of the alleged misappropriation of funds has yet to emerge, in a case that appears to span the globe from Bangladesh to the U.S. to the Philippines, an East Asian country with few economic ties to the South Asian nation.
A Federal Reserve Bank of New York spokeswoman said on Monday there was no sign its systems had been hacked after Bangladesh Bank reported the missing funds.
There is no evidence of any attempt to penetrate Federal Reserve systems in connection with the payments in question, and no evidence that any Fed systems were compromised, the spokeswoman said.
The instructions to make the payments from the account of Bangladesh’s central bank followed standard protocols and were authenticated by the SWIFT message system used by financial institutions, the Fed spokeswoman said Tuesday. The Fed has been working with and assisting Bangladesh since the incident, she said.