Russian man wanted for hacked ATM heist

Russian man wanted for hacked ATM heist

Some of Government Savings Bank ATMs remain in services while others were shut down to minimise the risk of being further 'jackpotting' attacks that already have allowed thieves to steal about 12 million baht from the government-run bank's 21 ATMs. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Some of Government Savings Bank ATMs remain in services while others were shut down to minimise the risk of being further 'jackpotting' attacks that already have allowed thieves to steal about 12 million baht from the government-run bank's 21 ATMs. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

A warrant has been approved for the arrest of a Russian man believed to be among the seven suspects stealing 12 million baht from malware-infected ATMs of state-run Government Savings Bank (GSB) this month.

The Phuket provincial court on Monday issued the warrant for the arrest of Rustam Shambasov, 29, who has already left the country while police were gathering evidence to seek arrest warrants for other Russian and European suspects believed to be hiding in the country, the Thai News Agency reported.

Pol Gen Panya Mamen, senior adviser to the Royal Thai Police Office, said Mr Shambasov arrived from Beijing at Phuket airport on July 14 and already left Thailand through Suvarnabhumi airport on Aug 1.

The man allegedly stole money 13 times from the hacked ATMs in Bangkok and Phuket and made off with altogether 3.04 million baht.

Police identified the Russian from the records he used to rent a Toyota Fortuner, a vehicle allegedly used to commit the crime.

According to media reports, investigators divided suspects into three groups who used four vehicles in central and southern provinces. Besides the Fortuner, a Toyota Vios, a Honda Civic and an unidentified car were used.

The first group robbed the ATMs in Phuket, then in Chumphon, Prachuap Khiri Khan and Phetchaburi provinces before returning to Phuket.

The second group operated in Phuket and flew to Bangkok for more thefts while the last group hacked the machines in Phangnga province.

GSB announced on Aug 23 that it shut down indefinitely around 3,300 or 47% of its 7,000 ATMs nationwide after learning that it lost 12 million baht to the heist happening to 21 ATMs in central and southern provinces mainly from Aug 1 to 8.

The bank reported that the robbers loaded malware onto each ATMs to disconnect the machines from its central system and then reprogrammed them to dispense banknotes.


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