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January 22, 2009

Hackers caught out in £200m bank heist

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by David Masters

A gang of international hackers failed in a £200 million bank heist because they forgot to fill out one field in a money transfer form, a court heard yesterday.

Belgian hackers Jan Van Osselaer, 32, and Gilles Poelvoorde, 35, planned to transfer £229 million from Japanese bank Sumitomo Mitsui to accounts controlled by accomplices in Spain, Dubai, Singapore, and Holland.

Van Osselaer and Poelvoorde were smuggled into the London offices of Sumitomo Mitsui by corrupt security guard Kevin O’Donoghue on the pretence that they were friends who had come to play cards.

Whilst in the offices, the two hackers installed spy software that recorded employees’ usernames and passwords at the London HQ.

This gave them access to the accounts of major companies, including Toshiba International, Nomura Asset Management, and Sumitomo Chemical UK.

It was from these accounts that they planned to transfer the money, up to €13.9 million at a time.

“The attempt was made by surreptitiously entering the bank at night, by corrupting its computer system, and by attempting to electronically transfer money,” prosecutor Simon Farrell, QC, told the court.

“Fortunately for the bank, those transfers failed,” said Farrell.

O’Donoghue, Van Osselaer, and Poelvoorde have all admitted their roles in the attempted theft.

Story link: Hackers caught out in £200m bank heist


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