February 17, 2018 / 3:59 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-India's City Union says hit by fraudulent remittances via SWIFT system

(Adds SWIFT comments)

MUMBAI, Feb 17 (Reuters) - India’s City Union Bank Ltd said on Saturday it had suffered three “fraudulent remittances” of nearly $2 million that had been pushed through the SWIFT financial platform.

City Union said the transfers had been made through correspondent banks even though the Indian lender had not requested the transfers.

The Indian lender said it had been able to block a remittance of $500,000.

A second transfer of 300,000 euros ($372,150.00) was routed through a Standard Chartered Bank account in Frankfurt to a Turkish account, while a third totalling $1 million was sent through a Bank of America account in New York to a China-based bank.

SWIFT, whose messaging system is used to transfer trillions of dollars a day, said it did not comment on individual cases.

“When a case of potential fraud is reported to us, we offer our assistance to the affected user to help secure its environment,” SWIFT said.

Brussels-based SWIFT has been urging banks to bolster security of computers used to transfer money since Bangladesh Bank lost $81 million in a February 2016 cyber heist that targeted central bank computers used to move funds.

Banking security experts said Indian banks that rely on the SWIFT messaging platform needed to be more vigilant. Industry experts say more than 100 financial institutions in India are connected with SWIFT including the central bank.

City Union said it was working with the Ministry of External Affairs and officials in Turkey and China to repatriate the funds.

Separately, India’s Punjab National Bank said earlier this week it had been hit by a $1.77 billion fraud.

$1 = 0.8061 euros Reporting by Rafael Nam and Manoj Kumar; Editing by Alison Williams and Edmund Blair

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