Was Kim Jong-Un behind last year’s biggest bank heist ever?

by WorldTribune Staff, March 23, 2017

The FBI suspects North Korea, assisted by Chinese middlemen, stole $81 million last year from the Bangladesh central bank’s account at the Federal Reserve in New York.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. /Getty Images

U.S. federal prosecutors are reportedly building a case implicating Kim Jong-Un’s government in what may be one of the largest bank heists in history, according to reports.

The Wall Street Journal, citing officials familiar with the case, reported on March 22 that prosecutors also believe Chinese middlemen helped Pyongyang plunder the Bangladesh bank’s funds in February 2016.

The stolen funds were reportedly transferred to banks in the Philippines and laundered through casinos. While some of it has been recovered, much of it is still lost, prosecutors said.

Hackers reportedly pulled off the theft by exploiting shoddy controls at the Bangladesh bank, the New York Fed and SWIFT, a money-transferring system that has come under attack by hackers the world over.

SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) has admitted that its systems were targeted a “meaningful” number of times in 2016 using approaches similar to the Bangladesh incident. However, it has denied responsibility for the hack or any other weaknesses in how Bangladesh installed and operated the system.