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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2058

Arrest of Litro Gas Chairman Shalila Moonasinghe: Unfolding scenarios in hacking International Bank of Taiwan

Colombo, 10 October, (Asiantribune.com):

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) yesterday arrested Litro Gas Chairman Shalila Moonasinghe, in connection with the alleged transferring of USD 1.1 million from Far Eastern International Bank of Taiwan to his personal account in Sri Lanka, CID sources said.

According to reports, the Far Eastern International Bank of Taiwan was hacked and US$ 60 million was wired to the accounts of several suspects at a bank in Colombo.

Police said that the CID had arrested Shakilai Munasinghe, as part of an investigation into the hacking the FEIB’s computer system to enable the transfer of funds to Cambodia, the US and Sri Lanka.

Investigators said that the illegally obtained money had been shared with several Indians at a leading Colombo hotel.

Moonasinghe, who was appointed as the Litro Gas Chairman by the then Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake in 2015, is being interrogated by the CID officials, the sources confirmed.

Shalila Moonesinghe, is the leader of the New Democratic Front (NDF), under whose nomination President Maithripala Sirisena won the January 2015 Presidential election under the symbol of the ‘swan’. It is currently a constituent partner of the United National Front.

According to Wikipedia, then General (Rtd) Sarath Fonseka contested for the 2010 presidential election from the New Democratic Front, which was founded in 2009 led by Mr. Moonesinghe.

Police sources said that they had received information Munasinghe had been staying at a temple with the help of an influential MP under a cloud.

As the information has been received that Mr. Moonasinghe, who is a resident of the address 441/12B, 6th lane, Ethul Kotte was attempting to go abroad from Mattala or Katunayake airports after evading arrest without assisting in the investigations relating to this incident, court has issued this order after accepting the request made by the CID.

The CID launched the investigation following a complaint made by Bank of Ceylon about this fraudulent money transaction on October 6.

Subsequently, the first suspect Janaka Chaminda Nammuni, a resident of Fairway Apartment on Buthgamuwa road , Rajagiriya was arrested on the allegation leveled against him that he was getting transferred to his bank account in Sri Lanka a large sum of money belonging to a Taiwan bank.

The first suspect was arrested while attempting to withdraw Rs. 80 million from a local bank account.

The first suspect had also withdrawn Rs. 30 million from the said bank account on Wednesday too.

The Far Eastern International Bank last week said, through the planted malware, hackers conducted virtual transactions to move funds totaling nearly US$60 million from customers' accounts to destinations such as Sri Lanka, Cambodia and the United States.

The Far Eastern International Bank last week said, through the planted malware, hackers conducted virtual transactions to move funds totaling nearly US$60 million from customers' accounts to destinations such as Sri Lanka, Cambodia and the United States.

On Saturday, Far Eastern Bank said it had recovered most of the stolen money and that its losses would amount to no more than US$500,000.

"We are looking at some US$1.3 million that had come into three accounts in Sri Lanka," an unnamed Sri Lankan official involved with the investigation was quoted as saying in an AFP report. "We have taken two people into custody, and we are looking for one more people."

The bank said it noticed some irregularities in its computerized transaction system on Tuesday and then discovered that some of its computers and servers had been infected with malware.

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication's (SWIFT) network was also compromised, which allowed the hackers to wire money to international destinations such as Sri Lanka, Cambodia and the United States, Far Eastern Bank said.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese media reported that Taiwan's Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) was preparing to send investigators to Sri Lanka to seek further details on the arrest of the suspects accused of helping hackers stealing millions of US dollars from the bank.

The bank said that on Thursday it reported the matter to Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) and the CIB, which in turn informed the International Criminal Police Organization and asked for assistance.

The FSC said that it was an isolated case in Taiwan and advised that Far Eastern Bank, not its customers, should absorb the losses, the bank said.

Over the weekend, after Premier Lai Ching-te was informed about the case, he asked the relevant agencies to review Taiwan's information security and to close any loopholes, according to Cabinet spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung.

Meanwhile, Colombo Additional Magistrate Jeyaram Trotsky today issued an order to the controller of Immigration and Emigration by proscribing the foreign travels of Shalila Moonasinghe as requested by the CID in connection with the Taiwan bank heist.

- Asian Tribune -

Shalila Moonasinghe -  Litro Gas Chairman
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