DOJ OKs raps vs RCBC, Philrem over USD81-M Bangladesh Bank heist

MANILA-- The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday approved the filing money laundering charges against officials of the Philippine financial system Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) and remittance firm Philrem Service Corporation (Philrem) in connection with USD81-million stolen from the Bangladesh Bank which entered the Philippines.

The DOJ found probable cause against the accused namely RCBC Jupiter, Makati Branch Manager Maia Santos-Deguito; and alleged bank depositors Michael Francisco Cruz, Jessie Christopher M. Lagrosas, Alfred Santos Vergara and Enrico Teodoro Vasquez for acting in conspiracy and in violation of Section 4F of the Anti Money Laundering Law after the Bangladesh Bank funds were hacked and stolen.

The DOJ has filed eight-counts of criminal charges for violation of Republic Act 9160 or the Anti-Money Laundering Act against the said accused.

Wherefore, premises considered, the undersigned hereby recommends the approval of this consolidated review resolution and the filing of information against the following:

That respondent Maia Santos-Deguito, in conspiracy with John Does aka Michael Francisco Cruz, Jessie Christopher M. Lagrosas, Alfred Santos Vergara and Enrico Teodoro Vasquez, be charged with eight counts of violation of Section 3F of RA No. 9160 the Anti-Money Laundering Act, as amended, the document reads.

The 12-page consolidated resolution was approved by Prosecutor General Victor C. Sepulveda upon the Recommending Approval of Emilie Fe M. Delos Santos, Officer in Charge, Senior Deputy State Prosecutor.

"The Consolidated Resolution recommends the indictment of Ms. Deguito and four unknown persons; based on the fact that she facilitated the withdrawal of the said funds from RCBC and depositing them to the accounts of the unknown and fictitious account holders. The funds eventually went to the account of a certain Mr. Go, proprietor of Centurytex. The funds were then withdrawn. Mr. Go denied that he opened an account with RCBC and his contention is now the subject of another case. Some of the funds were allegedly gambling in the casinos and some handed to individuals and banks," the document reads.

Criminal Information were filed by the DOJ before the court against said accused.

In the DOJ findings, it also indicted with four counts of violation of Money Laundering are Philrem owners spouses Salud R. Bautista and Michael Concon S. Bautista and Anthony C. Pelejo.

That respondent spouses Salud R. Bautista and Michael Concon S. Bautista be charged with four (4) counts of violation of Section 4F , 2nd paragraph of RA No. 9160 of the Anti Money Laundering Act, as amended,

That respondent Anthony C. Pelejo be charged with four (4) counts of violation of Section 9C of RA No. 9160 of the Anti Money Laundering Act, as amended.

The DOJ ruled that the Bautista couple and Pelejo must be indicted and cannot rely alone on the defense that they knew nothing about the hacking of the Bangladesh Bank and "only themselves to blame."

Source: Philippines News Agency