Bangladesh Bank files new civil case against Bloomberry Resorts and others over 2016 theft of US$81 million

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Bangladesh Bank has filed a new civil complaint in the US against 17 Philippines companies and individuals, including Solaire Resort & Casino operator Bloomberry Resorts Corp, in relation to the theft of US$81 million by North Korean hackers in 2016.

According to Bloomberry, its subsidiary Bloomberry Resorts & Hotels Inc. (BRHI) was informed of the civil case, filed with the New York State Court, on Monday. The new case comes after the United States District Court, Southern District of New York granted in March a joint motion by the defendants to dismiss a previous civil case for failure to state a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) claim or RICO conspiracy claim. Bangladesh Bank has also filed an appeal of that decision with the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

The case relates to the infamous 2016 incident in which North Korean hackers issued 35 fraudulent instructions to transfer almost US$1 billion from Bangladesh Bank’s account with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The US bank blocked the majority of those but not before five transactions worth a combined US$101 million were processed.

Bangladesh Bank eventually recouped US$20 million traced to Sri Lanka, however US$81 million transferred to the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp (RCBC) in the Philippines was transacted and lost, partially through casinos, including Solaire, where some of the funds were used to purchase gaming chips and play in junket rooms.

In a Monday filing, Bloomberry revealed the new complaint alleges conversion, theft and misappropriation; aiding and abetting the same; conspiracy to commit the same; Fraud (against RCBC); aiding and abetting and conspiracy to commit fraud; conspiracy to commit trespass against chattels; unjust enrichment; and return of money received.

“BRHI will vigorously defend itself against these baseless charges,” Bloomberry said. It added that there is no date currently set for the case to be heard with no summons yet served.

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