A win for the company
Philippines-based hospitality and casino company Bloomberry Resorts & Hotels Inc. is off the hook following the dismissal of a $101m bank robbery lawsuit. The case concerns a cyber heist that took place in 2016 and ended in a lawsuit being filed by the Bangladesh Bank. A motion to dismiss the suit was granted by the New York Southern District Judge Lorna Schofield.
allegedly being in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act
Bangladesh Bank had been suing Bloomberry Resorts & Hotels Inc., a subsidiary of Bloomberry Resorts Corporation, for allegedly being in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) of 1970. This is a federal law in the United States that aids the battle against organized crime. Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) was also a defendant in the lawsuit.
The dismissal was granted due to the prosecution’s “failure to state a RICO claim or RICO conspiracy claim.” The court will also not be using its option to apply its jurisdiction over the other state law claims.
Hackers in operation
US authorities alleged that the crime in question was carried out by hackers from North Korea. Following a similar type of cyberattack on the computer systems of Sony Entertainment in 2015, it is believed that orders were given to hack into Bangladesh Bank’s account held at the New York City Federal Reserve.
of this sum, about $81m got to the Philippines
After infiltrating the computing system, the hackers were able to issue fake fund transfers, allowing the removal of about $101m from the account. Of this sum, about $81m got to the Philippines after going through RCBC bank accounts, and then through casinos under the operation of Bloomberry Resorts and Eastern Hawaii.
Alleged money laundering
It is believed that the Bloomberry-owned Solaire Resort and Casino in Manila, Philippines was used for laundering some of the funds. Bloomberry Resorts & Hotels Inc. claimed it was actually a victim of the 2016 cyberattack and could not be complicit in the theft.
The corporation’s statement claimed “it had no knowledge that the funds used to purchase gaming chips and played in the gaming floor and in junket rooms in Solaire were stolen.”
Concerns in the region
The United Nations expressed concerns in 2019 that certain Southeast Asia casinos were susceptible when it came to potential money laundering.
Bloomberry Resorts is now facing issues closer to home, as casinos across the Philippines remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. To help with the country’s efforts to fight the spread of COVID-19, it has donated $1.2m worth of protective health equipment and testing kits to the Philippines Department of Health.