Money laun­der­ing de­ci­sion vs. RCBC exec to help in funds re­cov­ery

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Business -

The con­vic­tion of a for­mer Rizal Com­mer­cial Bank­ing Cor­po­ra­tion (RCBC) of­fi­cial for money laun­der­ing, in re­la­tion to the USD81 mil­lion stolen funds of Bangladesh Bank, part of which ended in casi­nos op­er­at­ing in the Philip­pines, will in­di­rectly help in the re­cov­ery of the re­main­ing funds.

Makati Re­gional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 149 on Thurs­day found guilty for money laun­der­ing for­mer RCBC Jupiter, Makati branch man­ager Maia De­guito, who was sen­tenced to 4 to 7 years of prison each for 8 counts of money laun­der­ing.

In a state­ment, the Anti-Money Laun­der­ing Coun­cil (AMLC) clar­i­fied that De­guito’s con­vic­tion “is en­tirely sep­a­rate from re­cov­ery ef­forts.”

How­ever, it noted that “De­guito’s con­vic­tion only helps the re­trieval in­di­rectly by bol­ster­ing the civil for­fei­ture (CF) cases through which re­cov­ery ef­forts are coursed.”

It ex­plained that, to date, CF cases have been filed against Eastern Leisure Hawaii Com­pany owner Kam Sin Wong, also known as Kim Wong, and Philrem Ser­vice Cor­po­ra­tion own­ers Michael and Salud Bautista, whose com­pany was tapped to re­mit the funds to Wong’s casino.

“Both cases are pend­ing be­fore the Re­gional Trial Courts,” the AMLC state­ment said, adding that “a pe­ti­tion for re­view has also been made be­fore the Supreme Court, con­test­ing the lift­ing of the freeze or­der on the bank ac­count of Bloomberry Re­sorts and Ho­tels, Inc. (So­laire Re­sort and Casino).”

The case started when the BB funds were stolen from its ac­count with the Fed­eral Re­serve of New York on Fe­bru­ary 4, 2016, which is con­sid­ered one of the big­gest cy­ber-heists in the world.

The funds were trans­ferred to four US dol­lar ac­counts that were opened at the RCBC Jupiter branch in May 2015 un­der the names of Michael F. Cruz, Jessie Christo­pher M. La­grosas, Al­fred S. Ver­gara, and En­rico T. Vasquez

Part of the stolen money was even­tu­ally traced to Wong, who later on re­turned a to­tal of USD4.63 mil­lion and PHP488 mil­lion worth of cash to the AMLC.

(RICHARD MALIHAN)

NE­GROS. The Philip­pine Crop In­sur­ance Corp. notes that thou­sands of re­cip­i­ents mostly farm­ers in Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal have availed var­i­ous crop in­sur­ance pro­grams last year.

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