UAE's RAKBANK says no clients lost money

May 10 [Fri], 2013, 23:46
DUBAI (Reuters) - A Middle Eastern bank that fell victim to a major cyber fraud said on Friday that none of its customers had lost any money in a scam which it believed had also caught up lenders in the United States and beyond.

National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah (RAKBANK) said the fraud had happened at the end of last year and resulted in losses of around $4.7 million for the United Arab Emirates-based lender.

U.S. prosecutors said on Thursday that a global cyber crime ring had stolen $45 million from RAKBANK and Bank of Muscat of Oman by hacking into credit card processing firms and withdrawing money from ATM cash machines in 27 countries.

RAKBANK chief executive Graham Honeybill said he believed the fraud went wider than lenders in the Gulf region. "We are given to understand that the overall fraud encompassed a number of banks not only in the Middle East but in the USA and other countries," he said in a statement.

The amount of the potential loss for RAKBANK was 17.4 million UAE dirhams ($4.7 million) and this had been fully provided for before it closed its 2012 accounts, Honeybill said.

"The Bank can confirm that none of its customers suffered any financial loss as a result of this fraud," he added.

The incident related to events in December 2012 and involved the bank's service provider in India, he said, without naming the provider or giving any further details.

On Thursday the U.S. Justice Department accused eight men of forming the New York-based cell of the organization, and said seven of them have been arrested. The eighth, allegedly a leader of the cell, was reported to have been murdered in the Dominican Republic on April 27.

However, the global ringleaders are believed to be outside the United States but prosecutors have declined to give details, citing the continuing investigation. ($1 = 3.6730 UAE dirhams)

(Reporting by Andrew Torchia; Writing by Alexander Smith and David Stamp; Editing by Matthew Tostevin and Greg Mahlich)



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