U.S. Prepping Case Linking North Korea To $81MM New York Fed Bank Heist

Tyler Durden's picture

As tensions between the U.S and North Korea continue to escalate, with the most recent provocation coming from Kim Jong Un last night, the Wall Street Journal has just reported that Federal prosecutors are building potential cases that would accuse North Korea of directing the theft of $81 million from Bangladesh’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York last year.

The charges, if filed, would target alleged Chinese middlemen who prosecutors believed help North Korea orchestrate the theft, the people said.


The current cases being pursued may not include charges against North Korean officials, but would likely implicate North Korea, people close to the process said—with the U.S. accusing a foreign government of orchestrating one of the biggest bank robberies of modern times.

Richard Ledgett, the deputy director of the National Security Agency, said he was “optimistic about the truth of that,” when asked about reports of a connection between the two cybercrimes.  “If that linkage is true, that means a nation-state is robbing banks. That is a big deal; it’s different,” he said on Tuesday during a panel discussion at the Aspen Institute.

Meanwhile, U.S. Treasury authorities are considering sanctions against the alleged middlemen, an approach the U.S. is increasingly using to go after suspected criminals who are unlikely to fall into U.S. custody.



For those who missed our coverage, roughly a year ago we wrote about extensively about this incident in which a group of hackers used Swift, the interbank messaging system, to steal nearly $100 million from the Central Bank of Bangladesh being held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.  Here's a recap:

For those who missed the story, you can review it in all its James Bond-ish glory in the four posts linked below, but here is a brief summary of what happened to the $81 million: 1) it was transferred to four accounts at the Jupiter Street, Makati City, branch of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp (RCBC) in the Philippines, 2) $470,000 in cash went into the branch manager's trunk and the rest went to a possibly forged (but possibly not) account registered to one William Go, 3) the money was transferred to an FX broker called Philrem, 4) $50 million was split between two casinos and the remaining $31 was delivered to a "Weikang Xu" in cash.

From there, the trail goes cold.


Per the WSJ, the hackers behind the Bangladesh heist were likely a part of the same group that hacked Sony back in 2014.

Private security researchers have traced the Bangladesh heist to a hacking group known as Lazarus, which they say was also behind the Sony hack. In 2014, the FBI blamed North Korea for the Sony breach.


“The whole security community has said that the attack tools and techniques used in Sony are the same ones used in Bangladesh,” said Eric Chien, an engineer with security vendor Symantec Corp.

All that said, as always, one must maintain a healthy dose of skepticism when drawing conclusions on issues where pure speculation and conflicting interests can conspire to morph circumstantial evidence into undeniable 'fact'.  As even the WSJ notes, there remains a view among some federal officials that the evidence doesn’t prove beyond a doubt that North Korea was behind the Bangladesh theft.  Moreover, others believe the hackers who carried out the Bangladesh heist may have appropriated, tweaked or repurposed the malicious code that the U.S. government made public after the Sony hack—which wouldn’t necessarily indicate they are linked to North Korea.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Unreliable Narrator's picture

50 bucks says it was the CIA pretending to be Chinese middlemen with ties to North Korea (WTF . . .  really?) to continue financing deep state bullpoo without needing to ask CONgress for more $$.

They really need to come up with better cover stories.



Or not . . . it seems like 90% of the American sheep are perfectly willing to buy anything Wolf Shitzer blows out of his ass.

NidStyles's picture

Not going to lie, none of that would surprise me at this point.


Not only are the CIA incompetent beyond belief, but they are simply corrupt beyond reproach.

Chupacabra-322's picture

The "Spoofing" or Digital Finger Print & Parallel Construction tools that can be used against Governments, Individuals, enemies & adversaries are Chilling.

The CIA can not only hack into anything -- they can download any "evidence" they want onto your phone or computer.  Child pornography, national secrets, you name it.  Then they can blackmail you, threatening prosecution for whatever crap they have planted, then "found" on your computer.    They can also "spoof" the source of such downloads -- for instance, if they want to "prove" that something on your computer (or Donald Trump's computer) came from a "Russian source"  -- they can spoof the IP address of a Russian source.

The take-away:  no digital evidence the CIA or NSA produces on any subject whatsoever can be trusted.  No digital evidence should be acceptable in any case where the government has an interest, because they have the complete ability to fabricate and implant any evidence on any iphone or computer.  And worse:  they have intentionally created these digital vulnerabilities and pushed them onto the whole world via Microsoft and Google.     Government has long been at war with liberty, claiming that we need to give up liberty to be secure.  Now we learn that they have been deliberately sabotaging our security, in order to augment their own power.  Time to shut down the CIA and all the other spy agencies.  They're not keeping us free OR secure, and they're doing it deliberately.  Their main function nowadays seems to be lying us into wars against countries that never attacked us, and had no plans to do so.

Truther's picture

USCIA false flag bitchezzz

turnball the banker's picture
turnball the banker (not verified) Chupacabra-322 Mar 22, 2017 4:59 PM

They work for israhell now

eclectic syncretist's picture

Everyone knows it's just the banksters trying to start another war in an effort to create percieved value for themselves.

kochevnik's picture

$300billion in gold was stolen from the World Trade Center, which was the largest bank in the world.  Also $2trillion in Pentagon cash disappeared in Pentagon bombing of the accounting computers.  But it is not a crime when Israel is the robber

LA_Goldbug's picture

It's all bullish that we the sheep can not resolve. They have the tools to make new "stores".


kochevnik's picture

You missed one detail.  Government has access to backdoors it mandates in hardware design.  So CIA needs no brains only the access key.  As I read CIA can legally steal funds from any bank it robs, and it routinely cracks bank accounts to balance it's budget

Winston Churchill's picture

No no, it was little Kim personally on an Apple II.

BigFatUglyBubble's picture

He took a break from playing Oregon Trail™ on his Tandy™

sinbad2's picture

2 Aussie kids hacked NASA with a Commodore Amiga, American cyber security is the lamest in the known universe.

ReZn8r's picture

that would be very funny.

Raffie's picture

A false flag in the making???

How exciting.

logicalman's picture

I guess one boogeyman is not enough.

ultraticum's picture

Honor among thieves:  the government is only allowed to steal from its own slaves, not other governments!

turnball the banker's picture
turnball the banker (not verified) Mar 22, 2017 4:50 PM

Roths child pushing hard now for another bank

Implied Violins's picture

“If that linkage is true, that means a nation-state is robbing banks. That is a big deal; it’s different”

In nation-state AmeriKa, bank rob YOU.

IranContra's picture

Sure. Pesky luciferian agitators Iran and North Korea don't necessarily require nukes to be silenced for good. All such Rothschild projects can be stopped through legal prosecution, as Putin has shown.

Dr. Engali's picture

"As even the WSJ notes, there remains a view among some federal officials that the evidence doesn’t prove beyond a doubt that North Korea was behind the Bangladesh theft."

If not N. Korea the war mongering fucks are sure to blame it on Putin.

XqWretch's picture

exactly. anything to start WW3!!!

BigFatUglyBubble's picture

Putin and Round Boy should get twitters, tweet in english, imo

There's 2 sides to every propaganda story.

PoasterToaster's picture
PoasterToaster (not verified) Mar 22, 2017 4:56 PM

How do you steal money from a computer?  If they can roll back the NYSE when certain snowflake finance companies take a loss, they could just reverse the database for illicit transactions.

Not credible.  Fake transactions.

HRH Feant's picture
HRH Feant (not verified) Mar 22, 2017 5:01 PM

Give me a fucking break! The WSJ is saying this is the same group that hacked Sony! Don't make me laugh! I never bought the stupid claim that NK hacked Sony because that claim, on its face, is idiotic.

The Sony hack was a mix of insiders and who-the-fuck-knows who else but it sure as fuck didn't include some dumbass from NK.

Is it possible some Indian / Pakistani living in Bangladesh did the hack? Okay, sure, maybe. At least that idea is plausible. As to how the US proves their case at this point? Good fucking luck with that. Cost of doing business in the Tecknotronic era.

E.F. Mutton's picture

Threatening us with nuclear annihilation is one thing, but stealing from the Fed is just a bridge too far.

BigFatUglyBubble's picture

North Korea made my soup go cold

DRTexas's picture

The bastards gave my cat fleas.

BSHJ's picture

They are probably just accounting for the ransom cash that obama gave to Iran

Sheople's picture

I'll bet Weikang Xu sure was Happy. He walked out of that bank with a Month's Salary ($31) ...

Conax's picture

North Korea is now in the crosshairs.

Somebody's got to get blown out, it might as well be them.

I guess.

This shit is all absurd.

Are they sure it wasn't those pesky Russians?

aloha_snakbar's picture

building potential cases that would accuse North Korea of directing the theft of $81 million from Bangladesh’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York last year.

Bangladesh cant fight their own legal battles? What a load of crap...

monkman's picture

That is one pathetic false flag.

Thinkpad's picture

3/8 FT

North Korean banks barred from Swift transaction system
Taint Boil's picture

North Korea - programming geniuses ....... Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

DRTexas's picture

I think you are being a little critical.  They are very adept at technology.  They have hit the sea almost every time they aimed at it.

Grandad Grumps's picture

Now that the criminal parasites can't possibly get us into a shooting war with Russia ... even though they want as much murder and destruction as possible ... they think they can fool the people into backing a FAKE North Korean narrative.

Give up clowns. The people will not buy it. They are waking up. They don't trust you. You cannot convince people who do not trust you. And, it is not just the young people or the old people or the black people of the white people who do not trust you. It is ALL people who do not trust you. Soon they will know your secrets and you will have no power over them.... NONE!!

sinbad2's picture

America doesn't need cops, it has script writers. I can't wait for the sequel, and then the prequel.

wethecom's picture

Rissian hackers hacked the chinese to hack the Bangladesh acount for Korea...i know it(epic amount of sarcasm)

utter nonsece coming out of these people

Rolln's picture

Kinda sick of hearing about that pumpkin headed korean son...

rejected's picture

First it was the Iranians, then the Chinese, then the Russians, now the N. Koreans. LOL.

Just like the gold heist of 9/11. It was them terrorist Saudis that shut down the entire US Air Defense for hours,,, In NY hit 2 buildings with airplanes, knocked 3 down, and they say a airplane hit the pentagram so hard and fast it turned to dust in the wind.

The the Libyan gold,,, then the Ukrainian gold,,,they do the same shit over and over and most buy into it.

There isn't an entity existing on planet Earth that is more corrupt than the USG / FRB.

directaction's picture

Quick poll:

<--- Russia or China or North Korea, handy scapegoats.

<--- I'm dumb as a rock, believe anything. 

Thinkpad's picture
North Korean banks barred from Swift transaction system


3/8 Maybe since it's in the FT maybe London let us know what was going on. Didn't anyone catch this a few weeks ago?

Thinkpad's picture

This also speaks to the growing need for heightened cybersecurity know any companies that are ahead of the curve on that one cause it's big buzzword in DC

Miss Informed's picture

This one I wanted to upvote and downvote silmulanuously.

Atlas_Shrugged's picture

Whats the point.  The money is gone.  The solution is simple.  Stop funding UN, World Bank, IMF and all these instutions that keep funding projects.  Everyone knows, 90% of these funds line the pockets of the people in power in those countries.  Maybe only 10% goes to the projects.  Let Bill Gates, Soros and Buffet do the charity.  Keep Americans' tax dollars for America.

Thinkpad's picture
North Korean banks barred from Swift transaction system UN report shows lenders maintained access to global finance despite sanctions They did FT 3/8 so I would guess there may be something to this story.....