RCBC 'definitely not settling' with Bangladesh Bank over $81 million caper

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 26 2018 08:56 AM | Updated as of Jun 26 2018 10:10 AM

A security guard stands guard outside a branch of Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) in Paranaque City. August 2, 2016. Erik De Castro, Reuters

MANILA -- Rizal Commercial Banking Corp said it would not settle with the central bank of Bangladesh, which is holding it responsible for a $81-million theft 2 years ago.

The Philippines' 10th largest bank was also "victimized" when unidentified hackers shifted the money to RCBC accounts after they stole it from Bangladesh Bank's account with the New York Federal Reserve, said RCBC president Gil Buenaventura.

The money trail went cold in casinos and Bangladeshi authorities have recovered at least $15 million.

"Definitely we are not settling with them. We clarified, we are not settling any amount with them. We have been victimized," Buenaventura told reporters.

RCBC is "prepared to address" any case that may be filed over the caper, but none has been lodged so far, he said.

Regulators fined RCBC a record P1 billion over the incident in early 2016. Then bank president Lorenzo Tan also resigned and was replaced by Buenaventura.

Congress also passed a law to include casinos in the scope of dirty money watchdogs.

Buenaventura said RCBC would spend 25 percent of its entire P2 billion capital expenditures this year on security technology. Half of the total capex was allotted to digitizing the bank.

"Over the years, we have spent so much to protect ourselves from external threat," he said.

-- report from Warren de Guzman, ABS-CBN News