DOJ summons RCBC bank manager among 4 over $81m BB money laundering

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Dhaka, Mar 18: The Department of Justice (DOJ) of Philippines has summoned the bank manager of the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) and four other individuals in connection with Bangladesh Bank’s (BB) $81 million money laundering scandal.

Asst. State Prosecutor Gilmarie Fe Pacamarra, who handles the preliminary investigation of the anti-laundering complaint filed by the Anti-Money Laundering Council, said she will be issuing subpoenas against RCBC bank manager Maia Santos-Deguito to appear in the first preliminary investigation hearing on April 19.

Pacamarra also summoned the other four respondents namely Michael Francisco Cruz, Jessie Christopher Lagrosas, Alfred Santos Vergara, and Enrico Teodoro Vasquez, the supposed owners of the bank accounts where the $80,884,641.63 stolen by hackers from the Bangladesh Bank went.

She expects for the respondents to submit their respective counter-affidavit.

In its nine-page complaint, the AMLC deputy director Vencent Salido sought the indictment of Deguito and four other respondents – Michael Francisco Cruz, Jessie Christopher Lagrosas, Alfred Santos Vergara, and Enrico Teodoro Vasquez, the supposed owners of the bank accounts where the $80,884,641.63 stolen by hackers from the Bangladesh Bank went.

The council included the four individuals in the complaint despite an initial finding that these names might be fictitious.

The Filipino-Chinese businessman, William Go, to whom the amount was reportedly transferred before the money was laundered in local casinos, was not included among the respondents.

In its complaint, the AMLC said it was Deguito who approved the opening of the subject bank accounts on May 15, 2015 based on fictitious identity documents.

The said names were not really the four unidentified persons who appeared in the bank for the opening of the fake accounts.

The AMLC said that aside from the fact that Deguito failed to perform her responsibility of verifying the identities of the four depositors within nine months from the time the accounts were opened, she allowed them to withdraw the stolen money from Bangladesh Bank.

Deguito has already denied the allegation in the complaint.

“Moreover, verification on the employment offices declared by the four (unidentified persons) during the account opening revealed that there were no ‘Cruz’ et al. that were connected therewith,” the complaint stated.