Bangladesh central bank says U.S. account hacked: Fed denies breach

Commuters pass by the front of the Bangladesh central bank building in Dhaka March 8, 2016. REUTERS/Ashikur Rahman

DHAKA/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bangladesh’s central bank said on Monday its account at the U.S. Federal Reserve had been hacked and money was stolen, but that some of the funds were traced to the Philippines and recovered.

The New York Fed, which manages the account, denied that its systems were breached but did not say whether funds had been drained from the account, citing confidentiality.

Bangladesh Bank said it was working with anti-money laundering authorities in the Philippines. It did not say how much money had been stolen and a spokesman declined to comment.

Bangladesh’s central bank has around $28 billion in foreign currency reserves.

“To date, there is no evidence of any attempt to penetrate Federal Reserve systems in connection with the payments in question, and there is no evidence that any Fed systems were compromised,” a New York Fed spokeswoman said.

She declined to comment on whether the U.S. central bank’s New York branch was investigating the claim by its overseas counterpart.

Some 250 central banks, governments, and other institutions have foreign accounts at the New York Fed, which is near the centre of the global financial system. The accounts hold mostly U.S. Treasuries and agency debt, and requests for funds arrive and are authenticated by a so-called SWIFT network that connects banks.

Fed computers have been hacked in the past including charges in 2014 against a British citizen for breaching central bank servers and publicly posting information from internal users.

Reporting by Serajul Quadir; Additional reporting by Jonathan Spicer in New York; Editing by Gareth Jones, Bernadette Baum and Diane Craft