Ecuador bank gets nod to proceed with suit against Wells Fargo over Swift heist

Ecuador bank gets nod to proceed with suit against Wells Fargo over Swift heist

Wells Fargo has failed to convince a judge to dismiss a lawsuit brought against it by an Ecuadorian bank in connection with a $12 million theft made over the Swift network.

Banco del Austro (BDA) brought the suit after Wells Fargo approved at least 12 transfers worth a total of $12 million that were requested over the Swift network. Wells mistakenly thought that the requests came from BDA, sending its money to accounts in Hong Kong.

BDA sued Wells in a US court, claiming that the American bank should have halted the transfer. According to Reuters, a judge this week threw out BDA's breach of contract and negligence claims but did not dismiss alleged violations of the New York Uniform Commercial Code on whether fund transfer security procedures are "commercially reasonable".

According to judge Lewis Kaplan, the court could not "rule as a matter of law that use of the Swift system, with nothing more, constituted a commercially reasonable security procedure in the context of this particular customer-bank relationship".

Details of the theft emerged in May in the wake of the $81 million Bangladesh Bank hack, which also involved the Swift network. Neither bank, nor Citi, which was involved in a similar issue with BDA, reported the attacks to Swift, prompting an overhaul of the network's security policies - from next year it will name and shame banking members who fail to measure up to a new set of core security standards that are set to be introduced in Q2 2017.

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