RCBC files defamation suit against Bank of Bangladesh over 2016 cyberattack
According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, RCBC filed the civil complaint with the Regional Trial Court in Makati City, arguing that its “reputation has come under the vicious and public attack by Bangladesh Bank since 2016”.
RCBC is very clear in its thoughts: “It is public knowledge that Bangladesh Bank has embarked on a massive ploy and scheme to extort money from plaintiff RCBC by resorting to public defamation, harassment and threats geared towards destroying RCBC’s good name, reputation, and image, all with the intention of getting RCBC to pay Bangladesh Bank money that RCBC does not have in its custody or possession and which it does not owe to Bangladesh Bank.”
The suit was served to Abu Hena Mohammad Razee Hasan, deputy governor and head of Bangladesh Bank Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU), and the other members of Bangladesh Bank delegation that arrived in the Philippines this week for meetings with banking officials.
The incident stems from 2016, when hackers allegedly breached the Bangladesh central bank’s security system and then pretended to be Bangladeshi officials to send a series of requests for the New York Federal Reserve to transfer large tranches of money from its account there.
Since then, there have been numerous follow-on stories. For example, in 2016 the Philippines’ central bank issued a PHP 1 billion ($21 million) fine to RCBC for cybersecurity failings.
Just last month, Bangladesh Bank sued RCBC in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York in relation to this event.
Tai-Heng Cheng, RCBC’s lead lawyer, comments: “Bank of Bangladesh’s claims are baseless and have harmed RCBC’s reputation as one of the best banks in the Philippines. Bangladesh’s suit is nothing more than a political stunt to try to shift blame from themselves to RCBC. The action taken today by RCBC finally puts the case in a court where – at the very least – the alleged crime took place.”
RCBC’s lawsuit points out Bangladesh’s failures to secure its network and disclose those failings on a timely basis. The complaint also refuted Bangladesh Bank’s allegation that RCBC had played a premeditated role in the cyber theft.
RCBC wants at least PHP 100 million ($1.9 million) as payment for civil damages.