Cyber fraudsters could withdraw only ₹30 crore

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Cyber fraudsters who siphoned off Rs 147 crore from the Nariman Point branch of State Bank of Mauritius managed to withdraw only about Rs 30 crore from two accounts in foreign banks before the banks blocked the accounts.

Investigations have revealed the accused hacked into the bank’s server on October 1 and transferred money online to accounts in four different banks in London, Paris and New York.

On October 5, State Bank of Mauritius officials filed a complaint at Cuffe Parade police station. The case has now been transferred to the economic offences wing (EOW).

A senior EOW officer said the fraud came to light when the Swift system of the foreign banks sent messages to State Bank of Mauritius inquiring about the transactions. Swift is a messaging network used by banks to track money transfers.

While scrutinizing their transactions, the complainant bank found they had not made any such transactions. “They then realized their system had been hacked. The fraudsters had transferred Rs 3 crore to a bank in Paris, Rs 4.84 crore to a London bank and Rs 125 crore and Rs 14 crore to two banks in New York. State Bank of Mauritius officials immediately requested the foreign banks to block the accounts. However, by that time, the accused had withdrawn Rs 29.81 crore,” added the officer.

State Bank of Mauritius has got more than Rs 65 crore back from the foreign banks, and the remaining money is expected to be transferred soon too.

Disturbingly, the accused had also hacked into the bank’s email account. “When the foreign banks sent mails to State Bank of Mauritius asking if they had transferred money, two replies went out from the bank’s official email ID. One reply said no such transaction was made. The hackers, however, wrote back acknowledging the transfer. This is what raised the suspicions of the foreign banks,” added a source.

“We are trying to establish the internet protocol (IP) address of the hackers so that we can track them down,” added an officer.

Source: Economic Times