Cyber Expert Disappears After Comments on Bangladesh Central Bank Heist

March 20, 2016, 2:32 PM UTC
Commuters pass by the front of the Bangladesh central bank building in Dhaka
Commuters pass by the front of the Bangladesh central bank building in Dhaka March 8, 2016. REUTERS/Ashikur Rahman
© Ashikur Rahman / Reuters REUTERS

A cyber crime expert has disappeared after talking to police and the media about an attempted $951 million cyber heist from Bangladesh’s central bank, his wife said on Sunday.

Kamrun Nahar Chowdhury said her husband Tanveer Hassan Zoha had been taken from a motorized rickshaw in the early hours of Thursday by people in plainclothes who blindfolded him and drove off with him in a vehicle.

The heist at Bangladesh Bank led on Tuesday to the resignation of bank governor Atiur Rahman, after details emerged of $81 million of the bank’s money reaching casino operators in the Philippines. It was one of the largest cyber robberies in history.

In early February hackers tried in all to steal $951 million from the central bank’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which it uses for international settlements.

Before his disappearance, Zoha went with members of a special police force to the central bank where they spent several hours. Afterwards, he told reporters that he knew three of the user IDs used for the heist.

Kamrun Nahar said police had refused to investigate her husband’s disappearance and she appealed to the government for help to free him. Police were unavailable for comment.

“We don’t know why he was picked up,” she told Reuters.

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