DoJ assures recovery assistance on siphoned dollar reserves

State lawyers assured Bangladeshi diplomats of the Philippine government's commitment to help in the recovery of money spirited out from the Bangladeshi state coffers and which eventually found its way to the Philippines.

Meeting with Bangladeshi officials led by Ambassador to the Philippines John Gomes, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II made the assurance of MalacaAang's readiness to assist the latter in claiming some $15 million out of $81 million.

Also discussed was the status of the money laundering cases in the Department of Justice against former Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. branch manager Maia Santos-Deguito, businessman Kim Wong and executives of remittance firm Philrem Service Corp.

"This case involving about $15 million is pending, but I think within one month they should be resolving that case and we will be getting back our money," Gomes told reporters in an interview after the closed-door meeting.

The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) has accounted for $60 million of the laundered money, which includes the $15 million turned over by casino junket operator Kim Wong, the $28 million with Solaire Resort and Casino and the $17 million allegedly with Philrem Services Corp.

The Regional Trial Court Banch 53 of Manila issued last July 7 an order forfeiting $15 million cash turned over by Wong.

Gomes said Aguirre, like other officials they have met on this issue, has made a commitment to resolve the case "very soon."

"The government will help in returning the money to Bangladesh. The DoJ will appear for Bangladesh before AMLC in its efforts to recover the money."

The ambassador said he is pleased that executive officials "have all given me their commitment that

they will do everything that is required to recover the money."

"They are very cooperative with us and I am quite pleased that this (case) is going to be resolved very quickly I am very optimistic, I am actually very much pleased whenever I meet the new officials the way they are coming forward to help us get our money back," Gomes said.

Gomes was accompanied by their lawyer AJ Hussein during their meeting with Aguirre.

The Bangladeshi officials said they are planning to seek an audience with Solicitor General Jose Calida and officials of AMLC and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to push their claim.

They met with senators and top executives of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. for their bid to recover the rest of the $81-million stolen money.

"We are meeting the different officials and see what is the position over here in the Philippines and then only we can decide what will be the next step for the remaining amount of the money," Gomes explained

Source: Daily Tribune