International desk – The Philippines’ department of justice has ended primary investigation in the cyber highest of the largest-ever amount of money Bangladesh Bank account of New York Federal reserve.
At least 81 million dollars of the stolen money was en-cashed in Manila.
The Daily Inquirer reported that the probe was related to the money laundering charges involving the $81 million stolen by hackers from the Bangladesh Bank and laundered into Philippines.
The newspaper reported quoting Assistant State Prosecutor Gilmarie Fe Pacamarra that three consolidated complaints filed by Anti-Money Laundering Council against former Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. branch manager Maia Santos-Deguito and four others; casino junket operators Kam Sin Wong alias Kim Wong and Weikang Xu; and executives of remittance firm Philrem Service Corp. are now submitted for resolution after conducting preliminary investigation hearings for four months.
Pacamarra said a resolution may be issued within a month.
The investigating prosecutor clarified that these cases pending at the DoJ covered only about $15 million of the stolen money.
Apart from the $15 million covered by the DoJ cases. A total of $2.7 million was earlier recovered and frozen by Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. while $63 million more from the stolen money remain missing and are now being pursued by Bangladeshi officials.
All respondents have denied money laundering charges in their respective counter-affidavits.
In her answer filed last May, Deguito sought for the dismissal of the charges for lack of probable cause.
Deguito denied the allegation that she facilitated the laundering of the stolen money, insisting that it was former RCBC president Lorenzo Tan who ordered her to open the four fictitious accounts where the $80,884,641.63 stolen by hackers from the Bangladesh Bank went.
The former manager of the bank’s branch in Jupiter Street in Makati City claimed that all the transactions in her branch had the approval of Tan, alleging that she was just being used as scapegoat by the bank officials to avoid criminal liabilities.
Wong also denied the charges last June and claimed it was Deguito who facilitated the transactions. He said he has already returned to the government P38.28 million and $4.63 million he got from the laundered money.
The Philrem executives-president Salud Bautista, chairman of the board and treasurer Michael “Concon” Bautista and anti-money laundering compliance officer Anthony Pelejo – also sought dismissal of the AMLC complaint in their counter-affidavits last month, said the newspaper.
They insisted that the DOJ should dismiss the charges because AMLC’s complaint-affidavit did not specify any predicate crime by the alleged source of the money, a key element of money laundering.
The respondents further claimed that the hacking of the Bangladesh Bank did not happen in the Philippines, which goes against the principle of “territoriality” in the country’s criminal law, meaning the alleged crime should have been committed in the Philippines.
Philrem was the firm tapped to deliver the money from the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Jupiter Makati branch to local casinos where the funds disappeared.
Last month, Bangladeshi officials led by Ambassador to the Philippines John Gomes went to the DOJ to seek help in their recovery of the stolen money.
DOJ secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II vowed speedy resolution of the charges and also promised to provideassistance to them in dealing with other government agencies, according to The Daily Inquirer.