A man involved in the cyber-heist of millions of euro from Bank of Valletta has been jailed for 11 years in California.

The California Attorney General's office said Ghaleb Alaumary, 36, who is a dual Canadian and US citizen was convicted of conspiring to launder tens of millions of dollars stolen in various wire and bank fraud schemes, including a massive online banking theft by North Korean cyber criminals.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit money laundering in two cases. As part of his sentence that covers both cases, Alaumary was ordered to pay more than $30 million in restitution to victims.

Alaumary and his co-conspirators used business email compromise schemes, ATM cash-outs, and bank cyber-heists to steal money from victims and then launder the money through bank accounts and digital currency.

Alaumary recruited and organised individuals to withdraw stolen cash from ATMs, provided bank accounts that received funds from bank cyber-heists and fraud schemes. Alaumary further laundered the funds through wire transfers, cash withdrawals, and by exchanging the funds for cryptocurrency.

The funds included the 2019 cyber-heist from Bank of Valletta and a 2018 ATM cash-out theft from BankIslami in Pakistan. Other victims of Alaumary’s crimes included a bank headquartered in India, as well as companies in the US and UK individuals in the US and a professional soccer club in the United Kingdom.

In February, three hackers from a North Korean cyber intelligence agency were charged in the US with masterminding the €13 million heist on Bank of Valletta. Hackers posed as the French stock market regulator to break into BOV’s IT systems and walk away with millions of euros in 2019.  

All of the bank’s functions - branches, ATMs, mobile banking and even email services - were suspended and its website taken offline when the incident happened. 

In May 2019, the bank said it had recovered €10 million of the stolen funds.

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