The New York State Supreme Court, which is the lower court of first instance, has confirmed that it has jurisdiction in the case brought by Bangladesh Bank against RCBC and its current and former employees.
In a January 14, 2023 decision and order, the RCBC said the New York State Supreme Court, the lower court, said New York was an “appropriate forum for hearing the case.”
RCBC’s disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) stressed that the decision and order do not cover the merits of the case and only resolve “court issues.”
“The decision and order only resolved issues of jurisdiction and in no way, as a result of liability on the part of RCBC or any of the individual defendants,” RCBC said in a statement released Monday.
She added that “RCBC will continue to vigorously defend the case and consider all options, including the possibility of appealing against the rejection of the dismissals.”
In a separate statement sent to news outlets, RCBC said the decision was made by the New York court “although most of the witnesses in the case and the evidence to be presented will be from the Philippines.”
“According to the New York court, the advent of technology now allows people and evidence located in the Philippines to be examined on the other side of the globe,” said the RCBC.
The bank added that to this day, more than six years after the Bangladesh Bank robbery, what happened inside the corridors of the Bangladesh Bank that led to the robbery “remains unexplained”.
RCBC noted that the Bangladesh Bank did not release a report on the incident to reveal “what really happened within the confines of their offices and the persons in their control”.
It was in 2016 when a cross-border cyber heist hit the headlines, in which hackers managed to steal $81 million of Bangladesh Bank money, money that was deposited at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The stolen money eventually found its way to the Philippines through accounts at RCBC, much of which was withdrawn and disappeared into the country’s casino sector.
In mid-2016, after investigating and addressing the issue, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) sanctioned RCBC with a fine of 1 billion pesos – the largest amount ever imposed as a fine on a banking institution in the Philippines.
The incident also prompted officials to include gambling houses in coverage of the Anti-Money Laundering Board (AMLC) and in 2018, President Duterte signed Republic Act 10927, which effectively classifies casinos as covered entities under the 2001 Anti-Money Laundering Act.