Remittance firm in alleged US $81-million money laundering pledge to return P10.4-M to Bangladesh


The remittance company that converted most of the stolen US $81 million from central bank of Bangladesh into pesos, will return P10 million it earned from the money laundering heist that rocked the local banking industry in the Philippines.

”We are returning the P10.4 million as token of our apology to the government of Bangladesh,” PhilRem Service Corporation president Salud Bautista told the Senate hearing on Thursday night.

Bautista said the P10.4 million was the whole amount the PhilRem earned for US $81 million that the hackers stole from the account that Bangladesh held w the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Related story here: Watch Senate hearing on the alleged US $100-million money laundering in PH, second part

The USD 81 million was transferred electronically to the accounts in the Philippines through the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) Jupiter Branch in Makati City.

Bautista told the Senate blue ribbon committee that the USD15 million was remitted to PhilRem from RCBC account of a certain Enrico Teodoro Vasquez, one of the four individuals identified as owners of dollar accounts where the USD 81 million were transferred.

Except for USD 15 million, the remaining accounts remitted to PhilRem were consolidated into the account of businessman William So Go. Go denied that he owns the account with RCBC.

The balance of the US $81 million has been deposited to accounts of Alfred Santos Vergara, Michael Francisco Cruz and Jessie Christopher Lagrosas. The four account were later found to be fake.

Senator Serge Osmena III described the PhilRem’s decision to return the P10 million but claimed it does not free the remittance company from possible charges that the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) may file for failure to follow a ‘know your client’ provision.

More related story and video here: If casinos were under AMLA law, money laundering could have not happened?

Philrem converted into pesos some of the US $81 million and delivered the money in cash tranches to a registered casino junket operator Kam Sin Wong, Eastern Hawaii Leisure Company, and Bloomberry Hotels Incorporated (Solaire Resort & Casino).

Meanwhile, RCBC Jupiter Makati branch customer service head Romualdo Agarrado told the Senate panel that the P20 million withdrawn from the RCBC accounts was loaded into the car of Maia Santos Deguito, RCBC Jupiter branch manager. Agarrado said the money came from the supposed account of Go.

Deguito answered all the allegations and question in an executive session. (from PNA report by Jelly Musico)


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