Makati court con­victs ex-RCBC man­ager of money laun­der­ing

Watchmen Daily Journal - - FUN. ENTERTAINMENT. EMOTIONS. LIFESTYLE - (Lian Buan, Rap­pler.com)

MANILA – The Maka Re­gional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 149 yes­ter­day found for­mer bank man­ager Maia De­guito guilty of money laun­der­ing over the 2016 Bangladesh Bank heist, sen­tenc­ing her to 4 to 7 years in prison for each of the 8 counts.

"Where­fore, premises con­sid­ered, this court hereby finds ac­cused Maia San­tos-De­guito guilty be­yond rea­son­able doubt, hence this court hereby im­poses penalty of im­pris­on­ment and fines," Judge Ce­sar Un­ta­lan said in his ver­dict pro­mul­gated on yes­ter­day.

De­guito was also or­dered to pay $109 mil­lion in pe­nal es.

Since money laun­der­ing is a bail­able of­fense, De­guito will en­joy pro­vi­sional lib­erty as she ap­peals her con­vic on all the way to the Supreme Court.

De­guito’s lawyer Demetrio Cus­to­dio claimed his client could not be made to pay the fines be­cause the stolen money did not go to her.

“Be­cause the amounts al­legedly taken has been cred­ited to the ac­count of Wil­liam Go, my client Maia will not be forced to turn over the amount,” Cus­to­dio said.

The word­ing of Un­ta­lan’s de­ci­sion pinned down De­guito for hav­ing knowl­edge of the il­le­gal trans­fer of the stolen money, but did not ex­plic­itly say that the money went to her.

“There­fore, this court, then and now, hereby con­cludes with cer­tainty that ac­cused De­guito had not only fa­cil­i­tated these sub­ject il­le­gal bank transac ons; but ac­cused De­guito had co­or­di­nated and cor­rob­o­rated to the ex­ecu on and im­ple­menta on of these il­le­gal bank transac ons for an easy and prompt ex­ecu on for credit and trans­fer to the ac­count of Mr. Wil­liam Go, dis­re­gard­ing and puªng aside any ob­sta­cles and dis­trac on in­clud­ing that stop pay­ment in­struc on,” said Un­ta­lan.

Cus­to­dio said the court did not have ju­ris­dic on to seize the amount.

“There is no for­fei­ture here be­cause the amounts have not been sub­ject to the ju­ris­dic on to the court, the per­son called Wil­liam Go has not been made party to this case, so he will not be made to ac­count for the amounts taken from Bangladesh,” the lawyer said.

De­guito re­fused to make a state­ment.

The own­ers of the bank ac­counts – some said to bear fic ous names – where the stolen money was de­posited re­mained at large.

Bangladesh am­bas­sador to the Philip­pines Asad Alam Siam told re­porters they hoped for the speedy res­olu on of the cases against other Rizal Com­mer­cial Bank­ing Cor­pora on (RCBC) of­fi­cials pend­ing be­fore the De­part­ment of Jus ce (DOJ).

De­guito was a branch man­ager of the RCBC, which fig­ured in a bank heist in 2016 that a racted in­terna onal a en on.

She was im­pli­cated in the $81-mil­lion Bangladesh Bank heist that saw stolen funds end up in the Philip­pines.

In 2017, the DOJ cleared ex­ecu ves of money trans­fer firm Philrem Ser­vice Cor­pora on in the in­dict­ment, leav­ing De­guito to face the charges.

The case in­volved hack­ing Bangladesh Bank, the cen­tral bank of Bangladesh. The stolen funds were con­verted to Philip­pine pe­sos and dis­trib­uted to jun­ket op­er­a­tors and casi­nos.

The money was de­posited to for­eign cur­rency ac­counts of RCBC, which passed it on to Philrem for con­ver­sion and dis­tribu on.

The stolen funds were de­posited to the ac­count of Wil­liam So Go of DBA Cen­tu­ry­tex Trad­ing, opened on the same day of the de­posits.

Rap­pler photo) (Lian Buan/

For­mer RCBC branch man­ager Maia De­guito lis­tens to the me­dia in­ter­view of her lawyer (not seen in photo) af­ter a Makati court con­victed her of money laun­der­ing in con­nec­tion with the Bangladesh bank heist on Jan­uary 10, 2019.

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