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Manila ex-banker gets jail, $109 mn fine over Bangladesh cyberheist

AFP  |  Manila 

A Philippine ex-was handed a lengthy jail term and $109 million fine Thursday in the first conviction over one of the biggest ever cyberheists which saw $81 million stolen from

Shadowy hackers transferred the cash in 2016 from Bangladesh's US accounts to Philippine (RCBC), where it was swiftly withdrawn.

The theft exposed the as a haven for dirty money, where some of the world's secrecy laws protect account holders from scrutiny.

A court found Maia Deguito, who was an RCBC where the money landed, guilty on eight counts of money laundering which carry a minimum of four years each behind bars.

The court also ordered her to pay $109 million in fines. Deguito plans to appeal and can remain free on bail until the conviction is finalised.

Authorities charged that Deguito helped coordinate the transfer of the money, which was taken from Bangladesh's reserves account at the Federal in the

Deguito is the only person who has been convicted in the case -- which has drawn international concern -- her told AFP, adding that his client had been turned into a scapegoat.

"She could not have done this on her own. A bank the size of RCBC could not have allowed a to have planned this, so there are others involved in this," Custodio said.

RCBC said in a statement that it was a "victim" and that Deguito was a "rogue" employee. The said the case was not closed, but could not immediately provide details on other cases.

A North Korean hacker is also wanted by the on charges he and a state-sponsored hacking crew masterminded the heist.

Only $15 million of the money was recovered after it landed in the and was quickly dispersed.

Tens of millions of the loot disappeared into Manila's casinos, which were at the time exempt from rules aimed at preventing money laundering.

The imposed a record $21 million fine on RCBC after the discovery of the heist as it investigated the lender's alleged role in the theft.

The US reserve bank, which manages the Bank account, has denied its own systems were breached.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, January 10 2019. 13:35 IST
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