State Bank of Mauritius files complaint with Singapore police to track down hackers

0
86
State Bank of Mauritius files complaint with Singapore police to track down hackers


By: Rashmi Rajput

Mumbai: The State Bank of Mauritius (SBM) has filed a complaint with the Singapore police to track down unknown hackers who allegedly withdrew Rs 19 crore from its branch in Mumbai.

A complaint about the hack was first filed with the Mumbai police in November 2018. SBM had alleged then that its SWIFT payment gateway had been hacked on October 2 in an attempt to transfer Rs 147 crore. Although the attempt was stopped after one of the four remitting foreign banks raised queries about the transaction with SBM, the bank had lost close to Rs 19 crore by then, the police said.

“Bank officials have intimated us about lodging a complaint with the Singapore police,” said police inspector Kishore Parab, who is in charge of the bank fraud department of the Economic Offences Wing (EOW), a specialised unit of the Mumbai Police that probes financial frauds.

“Since the company in whose account the funds were transferred is registered in Singapore, the bank has lodged a complaint with them. The FIR copy of the complaint lodged with the Mumbai police has been shared with the Singapore police,” said another official with the knowledge of the matter.

An SBM Bank India spokesperson confirmed the developments to ET.

“Bank has filed complaints with the Singapore Police and Mumbai Police, EOW on the cyber hacking incident… We understand that the investigations are at an advanced stage with both the Singapore and Mumbai Police,” the spokesperson said.

The hack at SBM’s Nariman Point branch was stopped after a London bank got suspicious when multiple remittance requests were raised within the span of a few hours on an Indian bank holiday. The requests exceeded the amount typically raised on a single working day and that prompted the London bank to immediately raise a query with SBM, after which the process was stopped, the official explained.

“The bank found that the email requests to release the amounts were sent from an email ID similar to the one used by the in-charge of SWIFT transactions at its Nariman Point branch. The bank managed to stop most of the transactions,” the official said.

The Mumbai Police found that the amount of Rs 19 crore was routed to an account in a Hong Kongbased bank in the name of a Singapore company.

“The Singapore company had two Chinese nationals as directors. When we probed their credentials, we found that the company is a shell company created for the purpose of rerouting of funds,” added the official.

The Hong Kong bank had also figured in a case involving Pune-based Cosmos Bank, which had been hacked in a similar manner in August 2018.

“We are of the view that the said bank isn’t strict while checking the credentials of the clients and therefore availing an account is easy,” the official added.

According to sources, the amount was further transferred from the Hong Kong bank to several other accounts, some of them in Nigeria.

The EOW now plans to send letters rogatory (LRs) to tie up the investigation.

“Since the money was routed to Nigeria and the company is based in Singapore, we will send the LRs to these countries. The LR to Singapore will also seek details of their investigation,” said another official requesting anonymity.

An LR is a formal request to a foreign court for judicial assistance.





Source link