Philippine casino investor Bloomberry Resorts Corp said in a Tuesday filing that Bangladesh’s central bank had appealed against a United States’ court decision from March dismissing racketeering claims against a Bloomberry unit and others over the February 2016 online theft of US$81 million.
Bloomberry said the Bangladesh Bank filed on Monday an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals against an opinion and order of the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York.
The lower court had dismissed claims against a unit called Bloomberry Resorts and Hotels Inc made under Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. The RICO Act allows parties to go after organised syndicates, covering financial crimes like wire fraud and money laundering. The civil legal case had been filed in January 2019.
Bloomberry controls the Solaire Resort and Casino in the Philippine capital, Manila. It was reported at the time of the heist – allegedly conducted via an account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in the U.S., held by the Bangladesh Bank – that the money was diverted to four accounts at a Rizal Commercial Banking Corp branch in Makati, Metro Manila.
At least part of the funds was later reportedly moved to “Philippine casinos” where it was “used to purchase gaming chips” that were played in “casino and junket rooms,” noted Bloomberry’s Tuesday filing.
Bloomberry’s latest filing said the civil case was to collect an amount “allegedly lost by Bangladesh Bank from North Korean hackers who broke into Bangladesh Bank’s systems and sent multiple remittances orders to their account with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and some remittance orders were allowed to be transacted through four correspondent banks in New York”.
A U.S. Department of Justice criminal complaint in 2018 had charged a North Korean citizen with involvement in the Bangladesh Bank online heist.
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”Our own consensus is that any newcomers to this [junket] sector should be corporatised, and should be financially sound and able to commit a higher guarantee deposit”
Kwok Chi Chung
President of junket trade body, the Macau Association of Gaming and Entertainment Promoters