Senator: 40% of $81M Lost To Bank Heist, Recoverable

Senator: 40% of $81M Lost To Bank Heist, Recoverable

Senator: 40% of $81M Lost To Bank Heist, Recoverable

Senator Ralph Recto. Philippine Daily Inquirer file photo.

Speaking in a radio interview, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto  said that 40% of $81M stolen from Bangladesh Bank's account in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is recoverable. 40%, or $34M, of the $81M is recoverable based from the current findings of the Senate hearings. Kim Wong said that only $61M of the $81M that entered the country was coursed through casinos. Recto urged law enforcers to quickly recover the remaining amount that was unsuccessfully laundered though Philippine Casinos.

READ ALSO: Two Chinese Identified In Bank Heist By Kim Wong

Gao, Zhize new principal suspects

Yesterday, Wong named two Chinese nationals whom he said were the people who brought the money into the country. Wong also claimed that it was Maia Deguito, the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) manager, who facilitated the laundering of the money through a fake corporate dollar account.

A breakdown of the $34M recoverable by the government includes:

$17M from Philrem. Wong claimed that Philrem still had the money from the RCBC, but Philrem denied this.

$10M from Wong's Eastern Hawaiian Leisure Co Ltd. which got the money from Philrem.

$5.5M from Wong himself.  It contains the remaining $4.63 million of the $5 million that Wong claimed he got in the house of Philrem’s Michael Bautista and the $870,000 or P40 million left from the P550 million that Wong sent to Midas casino.

$2.63M now in Solaire casino frozen from the Ding group. P107.35M was frozen in the accounts of the Ding group while P1.347M was confiscated the rooms of the group.

Recto said that it was important to recover and return the amount to Bangladesh. "What’s important is that we get all this money so we can return this to Bangladesh because we know this came from the poor of this country," said Recto.

Recto also said that if Gao exists, he is the new principal suspect along with Zhize, and could have known the hacker because they knew the money would arrive in the country at February 4 and 5.  The US Federal Bureau of Investigation was now looking into Wong’s testimony as this was an international crime.

Challenge for law enforcement, bank secrecy laws need overhaul

Former Justice Secretary Leila De Lima called this case a "test" case for law enforcement agencies in the country. "This should serve as a template on how we should go about fighting transnational crimes of this kind in the future so (that) we do not end up in confusion the next time it happens,” said De Lima. De Lima is running under the Liberal Party slate for a slot in the Senate this 2016.

She also said that there was an urgent need for Congress to look into and revise the "dinosaur" bank secrecy laws of the country because "it no longer protects ordinary depositors but has more often than not served as cover for crime".  Without any amendment, the Anti Money Laundering Council will not be able to pry into the accounts of casinos. "It should be clear by now that the bank heist made use of the current loopholes in our laws that relate to bank secrecy, banking operations, antimoney laundering and regulation of casino operations... This should serve as enough impetus for Congress to start a comprehensive revision of all laws that relate to this,” she said.



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