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Chinese men arrested for stealing millions from ATMs in Nepal

Police have arrested five Chinese nationals in connection with the country’s biggest cyber heist in the banking sector and recovered approximately Rs 12.63 million stolen from several ATMs in Kathmandu.

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Police have arrested five Chinese nationals in connection with the country’s biggest cyber heist in the banking sector and recovered approximately Rs 12.63 million stolen from several ATMs in Kathmandu.

Those taken into police custody are Xu Luc Li, 36, Lin Jianmeng, 39, LuoJialei, 40, Zhu Lianggang, 32, Qui Yunging, 30, and Chen Bin Bin, 35.  Xu Luc Li was arrested from Tribhuvan International Airport last night.   Meanwhile, the Nepali nationals — operator of Dexo Money Changer Bednath Lamichhane, operator of Nepalaya Money Changer Roshan Pradhan Shrestha and Manager of Nepalaya Money Changer Rewati Dawadi — were arrested today for allegedly giving foreign currency to the hackers in exchange for the looted money. The three money changers are based in Thamel.

Nepal Rastra Bank stated that a total of Rs 16.87 million was looted in the cyber attack from Nepal by the group.  Nepal Electronic Payment System has claimed that Nepali banks lost over Rs 35 million in the cyber heist.

The hackers, according to police, used electronic cards of at least six banks — NIC Asia, Siddhartha, Janata, Global IME, Prabhu and Sunrise — and used them at ATMs of three banks — Nabil, Nepal Investment and Nepal SBI — to illegally withdraw the money in Nepal.

Police have so far recovered around Rs 12.63 million from the five Chinese nationals and rest of the cash looted from Nepal is suspected to have been carried away by the three absconders.

How the money was stolen

The hackers allegedly injected malware into Nepal Electronic Payment System (NEPS), a shared card switching system of 17 banks, to drain the cash from the ATMs.  NEPS was established by a group of Nepali banks to process cash withdrawal requests.  It basically carries a message sent by issuers of electronic cards, such as VISA, to member banks, whose cards are used for cash withdrawals. ATMs emit cash only after member banks give approval. In the latest cyber heist, the malware apparently gave ATMs the instruction to emit cash before the request to withdraw cash could reach the member bank.

“The malware allowed Chinese hackers to steal the money available in the ATMs without debiting bank accounts of depositors,” Nepal Bankers’ Association President Gyanendra Prasad Dhungana said.  This means the cash was not stolen from accounts of depositors but from the vaults of ATMs.

The cash was not stolen from accounts of depositors but from the vaults of ATMs.

The biggest cyber heist in Nepal’s banking sector was noticed by Nabil Bank staff on Saturday after the ATMs ran out of cash though they were refilled on Friday evening. The hackers had used Prabhu Bank’s debit card at Nabil’s ATM to withdraw cash. Generally, an ATM holds Rs 2.5 million in cash.

“Normally, ATMs get lesser visitors on Saturdays and other public holidays. But two booths of Nabil Bank were emptied in a short duration, which drew the attention of bank staffers, who then informed about the incident to police,” said Prabhu Bank CEO Ashok Sherchan.

Acting on information provided by bank staffers, police first held Zhu from the Durbar Marg-based ATM kiosk of Nabil Bank at around 4:30 pm, leading to arrests of four others from Maya Manor Boutique Hotel at Hattisar. Deputy Superintendent of Police Hobindra Bogati said, “Four of them were arrested from the sixth floor of the hotel when they were preparing to flee.” Police, however, failed to arrest three other Chinese nationals, who were staying in the third floor of the same hotel. The racketeers had booked three rooms at the hotel.

Police have confiscated 132 duplicate and 17 original VISA cards, a card printing machine, six mobile phones, a laptop and a data card from the Chinese hackers.

Had the bank staffers not noticed the incident and informed authorities on time, the hackers would have emptied many more ATMs and fled the country, according to bankers.

The NBA has appealed to bank customers not to panic because of the cyber attack as their deposits are safe and intact.

Source:  The Himalayan Times

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National News

Surya Nepal is highest taxpaying company

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Image: Bizpati

Surya Nepal has been honored for being “highest taxpaying company of the fiscal year 2018/19”

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Nepal Government marks Mangsir 1 as National Tax Day and celebrates the day by honoring tax payers from different sectors and industries under 15 categories.  The highest taxpayers were honoured also to promote the taxpaying culture.

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Source: Republica

 

The 2018 CPI draws on 13 surveys and expert assessments to measure public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories, giving each a score from zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).  More than two-thirds of countries score below 50, with an average score of only 43.

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Our research makes a clear link between having a healthy democracy and successfully fighting public sector corruption. Corruption is much more likely to flourish where democratic foundations are weak and, as we have seen in many countries, where undemocratic and populist politicians can use it to their advantage.

Delia Ferreira Rubio, chair of Transparency International

Check the table below to learn more about

 

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