DOJ: Bangladesh Bank heist case not yet closed

Edu Punay - The Philippine Star
DOJ: Bangladesh Bank heist case not yet closed
The Department of Justice (DOJ) confirmed yesterday that the criminal charges for money laundering under the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) against six other RCBC officers remain pending before the office.

MANILA, Philippines — The $81-million cyber heist in Bangladesh Bank in 2016 is not yet a closed case despite the conviction of former Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) bank manager Maia Deguito for money laundering last week by a Makati City court.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) confirmed yesterday that the criminal charges for money laundering under the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) against six other RCBC officers remain pending before the office.

Prosecutor General Richard Anthony Fadullon said the complaint filed by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) against former RCBC treasurer Raul Victor Tan, national sales director for retail banking Ismael Reyes, regional sales director for retail banking Brigitte Capiña, direct sales director Nestor Pineda, customer service head for Jupiter business center Romualdo Agarrado and senior customer relations officer for Jupiter business center Angela Ruth Torres has not been resolved by the DOJ.

“There is no resolution yet from the preliminary investigation earlier conducted on that case,” Fadullon said in a text message.

But Fadullon could not say when the resolution on the charges filed in November 2016 will be released and said he would check it with the prosecutors assigned to the case.

“We will check on the status of the case first before we can give a timetable on when the resolution could be released,” he explained.

The case pending with the DOJ means the possibility of another trial on the Bangladesh Bank heist in court should the prosecutors find probable cause to indict Tan and the other five respondents.

Tan, brother of former national treasurer and now Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. president Roberto Tan, resigned in April 2016 “out of decency and honor” while Torres was reportedly dismissed after she – along with Deguito – was found by RCBC to have been involved in the money laundering scheme.

Bangladesh Ambassador Asad Alam Siam has called on the DOJ to resolve the case against the RCBC officers as he revealed that the Bangladeshi  government also plans to file a lawsuit in New York against the bank executives.

The AMLC accused Tan and the other respondents of criminal liability under Section 4(f) of AMLA over the laundering of the stolen money from Bangladesh Bank that shook the domestic financial system and gaming industry.

The AMLC alleged that “in consequence of his failure to order enhanced due diligence on the high-risk accounts and to continue the hold on the beneficiary accounts, Tan facilitated the commission of money laundering under Section 4(f) of the AMLA, as amended.”

Citing evidence gathered from RCBC, the AMLC said “there were suspicious indications of violations of the AMLA, as amended, or red flags, which deserved further investigations by RCBC.”

“Tan was in a position to order enhanced due diligence based on the red flags. Tan could have convened the anti-money laundering committee to act on these red flags,” the AMLC said.

But “despite awareness of the suspicious circumstances concerning (four suspicious beneficiary) accounts, Tan willfully ignored them and failed to conduct a thorough investigation as required by law and regulations and RCBC’s own money laundering and terrorist financing prevention program. This is knowledge that the funds transacted represented the proceeds of an unlawful activity,” the AMLC explained.

The AMLC filed similar charges against casino junket operators Kim Wong and Weikang Xu, Michael and Salud Bautista of money transfer firm Philrem and money laundering compliance officer Anthony Pelejo. But the DOJ panel chaired by Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Emilie Fe delos Santos dismissed the charges for lack of basis.

Only Deguito has been indicted in court in this case.

Last week, the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 149 found Deguito guilty of money laundering and sentenced her to four to seven years in prison for each of the eight counts.

The court was convinced that Deguito did not only facilitate the illegal bank transactions but also “coordinated and corroborated” their execution and implementation.

Deguito’s lawyer Demetrio Custodio said they will appeal the verdict.   

vuukle comment





  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with