Fri, Oct 13, 2017 - Page 12 News List

Sri Lanka intercepts more funds stolen from Taiwan

AFP, COLOMBO

Sri Lankan authorities have recovered more than US$1.3 million stolen from a Taiwanese bank after two men were arrested in connection with the heist, an official said yesterday.

An international search was launched after a reported US$60 million was swiped when a criminal gang hacked Far Eastern International Bank’s (遠東商銀) Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication system access.

The money was wired to accounts in the US, Cambodia and Sri Lanka.

The two men arrested over the theft had tried to withdraw large sums of money that had been wired to their accounts with a Sri Lankan bank in the capital, Colombo.

Police yesterday said the pair — a British national of Sri Lankan heritage and a dual national of both countries — had been sent the money by two Indian men, widening the scope of the investigation.

“Two Indians had been in Colombo when the money transfer took place last week, but have fled since,” a police official said.

The Indian suspects had arranged the transfer of the stolen money, with the Sri Lankans expecting a cut of the proceeds, the official said, adding that authorities in India had been informed of the identities of the two men.

Reports in Taiwan said police there had recovered most of the US$60 million.

Taiwanese police and a bank official late on Wednesday arrived in Colombo to arrange for the return of the money.

Premier William Lai (賴清德) yesterday issued a directive to the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) that an integrated platform for information security and data protection in the finance sector must be set up by the end of the year.

Stressing that information security is vital to national security, Lai asked the commission to examine holes in the financial system, Executive Yuan spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said.

In response to the premier’s directive, FSC Chairman Wellington Koo (顧立雄) said that later this month, the commission would contract out the task of establishing an integrated platform for information security and data protection.

The commission would also investigate the malware attack on Far Eastern International Bank in an effort to find any other security holes in its information system, he said.

Additional reporting by CNA

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