A six-strong hacker gang attempted to plunder £229million from a Japanese bank in an audacious high-tech scam, a court heard.
A crooked security guard at Japanese bank Sumitomo Mitsui let alleged computer hackers into the building in the dead of night where they installed spy software on computers used for multi-million pound cash transfers, the jury was told.
Days later the gang returned to harvest user names and passwords that staff had typed in, it was claimed.
In the early hours of the morning they used the data to try and transfer hundreds of millions of pounds from the bank’s customers to specially set up accounts across the world, the court was told.
The gang attempted to plunder the accounts of customers including Toshiba International, Nomura Asset Management, Mitsui OSK Lines and Sumitomo Chemicals and send millions of pounds to their accounts in Spain, Dubai, Honk Kong and Singapore, Snarebook Crown Court was told.
But the giant scam failed after the gang typed the wrong numbers into the cash transfer forms.
By this time police had already begun watching the alleged crooks.
The security guard Kevin O’Donoghue, 33, from Birmingham and the computer hackers Gille Poelvoorde, 34, from Belgium and Jan Van Osselaer, 32, also from Belgium have already pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal from the bank.
Today their alleged co-conspirators Hugh Rodley, 61, from Gloucestershire, David Nash, 47, from West Sussex and Inger Malmros, 58, from Sweden appeared charged with setting up the bank accounts
that the funds were going to be diverted to.
The jury heard that another two defendants died shortly before the trial.
Simon Farrell QC, prosecuting, said: ‘The case concerns a dishonest, bold and sophisticated attempt in October 2004 to steal £229,000 from the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation in the City of London.
‘The attempt was made by surreptitiously entering the bank at night, by corrupting its computer system and by attempting to electronically transfer the money.’
Mr Farrell claimed the gang were let in on several visits at night during September and the beginning of October 2004.
He said: ‘The plan involved the secret uploading of key logger software onto a number of the bank’s computers.
‘This software has the effect of logging the activities carried out by staff including log on names and passwords.
‘What the conspirators did was when they went into the bank they could retrieve the information stored on the computers.
‘Late in the evening of Friday October 1 2004 at about 11.30pm Van Osselaer and Poelvoorde with O’Donoghue entered the bank and were there until 4.30am during which time they accessed computers used for Swift [bank to bank cash transfer] instructions.
‘Having gained access to these computers Poelvoorde and Van Osselaer utilised information obtained from the software to compile ten swift messages instructing the transfer of money around the world.
‘Fortunately for the bank the transfers failed to go through because one of the field codes was incorrect.’
Mr Farrell claimed they returned the next day to attempt a further 11 transfers which failed for the same reason.
They tried to send 10million euros from Toshiba Intrernational’s account to one of their accounts in Dubai. They attempted to plunder 6.9million euros from the Nomura account, attempting to send it to Spain, it was claimed.
He alleged Nash, Malmros and Rodley, who is also known as Lord Rodley after buying a title, ‘were closely linked to the accounts that were to receive stolen funds.
‘All were involved in setting up and controlling a significant number.’
Mr Farrell said Rodley had coordinated receiving the cash adding he was ‘using others to front what he really is in charge of.’
He described O’Donoghue as the ‘inside man’ who tampered with CCTV records to try and erase video of the defendants at the bank.
When a colleague became suspicious about the comings and goings O’Donoghue apparently said that the alleged criminals were ‘friends and played poker at night.’
The trio deny conspiring to defraud the bank and conspiracy to transfer criminal property.
The case continues.
Source : DailyMail