Bangko Sentral scraps permits of Philrem, 2 others

Philrem president Salud Bautista.

Manila — The policy-making Monetary Board of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has cancelled the Certificate of Registration of Philrem Services Corp., the remittance service provider facing lawsuits for alleged involvement in the laundering of about US $81 million stolen from Bangladesh Bank in February 2016.

The board also cancelled the certificate of registration as foreign exchange dealer, money changer, remittance agent of Werquick and Peso Remittance.

”The BSP will also be working closely with other relevant government agencies, such as the Anti-Money Laundering Council and the Department of Justice, in their investigation of possible criminal and administrative violations under the Anti-Money Laundering Act and its Implementing Rules and Regulations, of the aforementioned entities, including their Directors and Officers,” the central bank said.

Last April, in one of the Senate hearings on the said money laundering activity, BSP Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. said there was a possibility that Philrem face sanctions vis-à-vis violations of central bank rules on remittance agents since it failed to implement the know-your-customer (KYC) rule, which is required from BSP-regulated financial institutions .

This after Philrem owner Salud Bautista admitted in one of the Senate hearings that the company did not use the KYC rule on junket operator Kim Wong, who received part of the stolen money, when Philrem remitted money to the businessman.

Instead, Philrem tapped the third party reliance rule hoping that the Jupiter, Makati branch of the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), where the stolen money was transferred from the Federal Bank of New York ended, followed the KYC rule, she said.

Espenilla said that before a BSP-registered remittance company can use the third party reliance rule they first need to secure a sworn certification that says the bank has conducted the KYC and face-to-face identification, that the bank has the minimum information on the customer, and that the remittance company can secure identification documents from the bank without delay. (PNA / Joann Santiago)


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