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US May Charge North Korea in Bangladesh Bank Cybertheft

The potential case accuses North Korea, and suspected Chinese middlemen, of spearheading an $81-million theft from Bangladesh Bank.

The US is preparing potential cases against North Korea and Chinese middlemen for their direct involvement in last year's $81-million Bangladesh Bank cyberheist, Reuters says, quoting a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report.

North Korea officials may not be directly implicated, but the charge is likely to be of a foreign country directing the theft. Middlemen could face US Treasury sanctions, reports the WSJ.

It has long been suspected that North Korea was behind the Bangladesh Bank theft. Only recently did the US government go public about the case when Richard Ledgett of the National Security Agency made a reference to it. 

The February 2016 Bangladesh Bank theft involved an illegal transfer of $81 million from its account at the Federal Reserve using fraudulent SWIFT messaging. Investigations have been ongoing with the bank authorities, Fed, and SWIFT blaming each other for negligence. SWIFT has since seen a number of more bank thefts using its system.

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