Money laundering: Deguito, Torres gets RCBC ax for falsification of documents

2016_0317_maia-santos-deguito
'Pawn, victim, fall guy or accesory to laundering?': Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation in its Makati city Jupiter branch manager Maia Santos Deguito faces criminal complaint filed by PH government agency Anti-Money Laundering Council before the Department of Justice.

The two officers of the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation in its Makati city Jupiter branch, where the US $81 million stolen from Bangladesh Bank was processed, have been axed from their jobs.

In a statement Tuesday, lawyer Maria Cecilia Fernandez-Estavillo, head of RCBC’s legal and regulatory affairs group, said RCBC Jupiter branch manager Maia Deguito and senior customer relationship officer Angela Torres have been terminated.

The bank said failure of the two to strictly follow the country’s banking laws “facilitated the alleged laundering of US $81 million of remittance that is now being investigated by the Senate and other government agencies.”

During last week’s Senate hearings on the alleged money laundering, Deguito admitted opening an account for businessman William Go, where the stolen money was consolidated, without his consent.

After being stolen from the dollar account of the Bangladesh Bank with the Federal Reserve of New York, the US $81 million was sent to four accounts in RCBC Jupiter branch on February 4, 2016.

These were sent through separate tranches to the accounts of certain Michael Francisco Cruz, Jessie Christopher Lagrosas, Alfred Santos Vergara, and Enrico Teodoro Vasquez.

Upon checking the identification documents submitted by these four when they opened the accounts on May 15, 2015, the Anti-Money Laundering Council learned that the documents were fake.

Last week, the Council filed money laundering charges against Deguito, Cruz, Lagrosas, Vergara and Vasquez.

Deguito and Torres are also facing charges filed by Go, who claimed that the two used fake identification cards and forged his signatures to open a bank account for him.

Earlier after the second Philippine Senate blue ribbon committee hearing investigation of the bank money laundering heist and during the closed executive session, Deguito was offered by senators witness protection.

But the bank manager declined the offer of government’s witness protection program as confirmed by Senator Serge Osmeña.

The senator told the media that Dequito made statements “closer to the truth” among the cast of characters in the money-laundering scandal as it checked out.

“We believe most of the things she said because we could corroborate information we already had before we came to the meeting,” Osmeña said in a television interview on Monday. (PNA web news contributed to this story)

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