As Bangladesh Bank was unable to file a case against Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) with the State Court in New York, due to the pandemic lockdown, it has appealed to the Southern District Court – seeking time to transfer the case till the state court resumes its activities.
The central bank filed the appeal through its lawyer on April 20, the last day to do so.
"Since we do not have any idea how long it will take for the judiciary [in New York] to reopen and operate in full swing, Bangladesh Bank wants to keep the scope of the appeal open," said Abu Hena Mohd Razee Hassan, chief of the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit.
He said the date of hearing for the appeal has yet to be scheduled.
On March 22, the Southern District Court of New York found the case filed by the Bangladesh Bank on January 31 last year out of their purview, and suggested it take the case to the State Court in New York.
However, Bangladesh has been unable to transfer the case as per the order of the existing court because of the Covid-19 pandemic that has forced two-thirds of the country to go into lockdown.
In 2016, hackers tried to steal nearly $1 billion from the central bank's reserve with the New York Fed. They managed to steal $101 million, including $20 million sent to a Sri Lankan account due to a spelling mistake.
That transfer was reversed from Sri Lanka.
Of the stolen money, Manila returned $15 million following an order issued by a regional Philippines court in November 2016 – while the remaining $66 million has yet to be recovered.
"We will file the case with the State Court in New York once normalcy has been restored to judicial proceedings," Razee Hassan said.