Romanian man involved in ATM heist deported

11/15/2020 12:33 PM
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Photo courtesy of the National Immigration Agency
Photo courtesy of the National Immigration Agency

Taipei, Nov. 15 (CNA) A Romanian man who was jailed in Taiwan for his involvement in the theft of tens of millions of dollars from ATMs has been deported, after completing his prison sentence of four years and eight months, the National Immigration Agency (NIA) said Saturday.

Colibaba Mihail was deported at around 8 p.m. on Saturday, and will be barred from entering Taiwan for seven years, the NIA said.

Mihail is the second of three men convicted in the 2016 ATM robbery to be released from prison. One of the others, Niklae Penkov of Moldova, completed his sentence of four years and six months in September and was deported that same month.

The alleged mastermind, Peregudovs Andrejs of Latvia, is still serving his sentence of four years and 10 months.

The high-profile ATM heist occurred between July 9-11 in 2016, when members of an international crime ring withdrew NT$83.27 million (US$2.76 million at the exchange rate at the time) from dozens of First Bank ATMs in Taipei, New Taipei and Taichung after using malware to hack into the bank's computing system.

The theft came to light when passersby in Taipei alerted police after seeing two members of the ring collecting cash being dispensed by an ATM in the middle of the night.

While those who made the withdrawals were able to leave the country, Peregudovs, Colibaba and Penkov -- who were tasked with taking the money out of Taiwan -- were arrested on July 17, 2016 and sentenced to jail.

The other 19 suspects who fled the country have been put on a wanted list, according to prosecutors.

Police eventually recovered more than NT$77 million of the stolen cash.

(By Liu Chien-pang and Chiang Yi-ching)


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