AMLC files raps vs Wong, Xu

Julia Abad

Julia Abad

THE Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) on Tuesday slapped money-laundering charges against two businessmen linked to the controversial transfer of the $81 million stolen from the Bangladesh Bank to the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC).

In a nine-page complaint filed at the Department of Justice, the AMLC accused Kam Sin Wong, a.k.a. Kim Wong, and Weikang Xu of laundering “hacked” or stolen funds from New York that ended up in local casinos.

Wong has been tagged as the mastermind of the money-laundering scheme. He flew out of the country when the controversy broke out.

On the other hand, Xu is said to be a junket operator who allegedly owned the bank accounts where the funds ended up.

The two businessmen have been tagged as the main players who facilitated the illegal transfer of the funds in connivance with their local bank contacts.

The AMLC complaint stemmed from testimonies of witnesses who appeared before the Senate blue ribbon committee that also investigated the scam.

Xu was said to have received $30.5 million from withdrawals he made between February 5 and 13 this year.

Wong, president and general manager of Eastern Hawaii Leisure Co. Ltd., was also accused of amassing P1 billion ($21.6 million) through several withdrawals he made from his personal and corporate accounts on February 10 and 11 this year.

During the hearings, it was claimed that Wong introduced RCBC branch manager Maia Santos-Deguito to individuals who opened bogus bank accounts where the stolen money was wired.

The AMLC earlier filed money-laundering charges against Deguito at the Justice department.

Deguito was summoned to answer charges during preliminary investigation set on April 12 and 19.

Sen. Sergio Osmena 3rd claimed that Wong appears to have masterminded the operation and that Deguito may not be the “most guilty” and thus, could be considered a credible witness to indict the other suspects.

Osmeña said Deguito told senators that Wong asked her to open the bank accounts where the $81 million was wired, with the instruction to use the services of foreign exchange remittance company Philrem Services Inc.

Wong reportedly gave Deguito the information sheets and the P$2,500 to open five dollar accounts.

Only four of the accounts, however, were used when the stolen money was wired to the Philippines.

The fifth account, under the name Picache, was not used, according to Deguito.
The addresses given by the four account owners turned out to be fictitious.

Normal transaction
The AMLC admitted that it was clueless about the transfer of the $81 million.

Julia Abad, executive director of the AMLC, said the country learned of the money laundering only when the governor of the Bangladesh Bank called Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Gov. Amando Tetangco Jr. on February 11.

“There’s no way we would have known [without the Bangladesh Bank notice],” she told reporters.

Abad said that when the $81 million was deposited in the RCBC Jupiter Branch, the transaction was automatically recorded in the AMLC’s database.

It was not looked into, however, because the amount is considered “normal” given the “other bigger transactions reported to the AMLC” everyday.

The AMLC started its initial investigation and called the RCBC Jupiter Branch to gather details after the agency was alerted by Bangladesh.

But RCBC submitted a transaction report only on February 12.

“We conducted initial investigation, and they submitted a suspicious transaction report.

The suspicious transaction report will trigger the investigation. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to discover,” Abad said.

When asked why the AMLC took long in filing the petition to freeze the concerned accounts — only doing so on February 29 — the AMLC executive director said the AMLC did fast data gathering, verifications and investigation but the number of weekends and holidays hampered the process.

She noted that thousands of bank transactions enter their database each day but the agency only has 28 personnel looking at these transactions and only nine of them are financial analysts.

Abad said the agency will ask Congress to amend the Anti-Money Laundering Act so that casinos and real-estate brokers can be covered by the law.

She pointed to the need to strengthen supervisory powers of the BSP and to lift the bank secrecy law.

Abad said the Philippines is one of two countries that do not cover casinos in their anti-money laundering laws.

“The Philippines is [also]only 1 of 3 countries in the entire world where tax authorities cannot access bank transactions [Switzerland and Lebanon being the other two], and remain only one of two countries in the world where tax evasion is not a predicate crime to money laundering,” Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said.


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  1. what? kinasuhan yung mga tumakas na? E si Tan? Si Go? Mga major players to sa money laundering sa pinas. Damned, nagkabayaran na.

  2. Shocking the AMLC is so clueless and moves so slowly in their investigation. This AMLC group must have LP members running the AMLC due to the very high incompetence present. How can they be expected to safeguard anything associated with the fast moving banking system.

    • Was it not the AMLC who earlier this year reported Binay had 258 separate bank accounts scattered all over the country, only to find they did a global search on accounts named Binay, regardless if they were the real VP family or not. Sickening incompetence by a government organization.

  3. AMLC is just a political tool of the gov’t. that only persecutes their known political rivals. Other than that the people in this agency are just pathetic incompetent psychopaths who were put there to milk the agency and be just plain sucking leeches who slurp our hard earned taxpayers money for their farce services.

  4. I see that the AMLC have said the bank secrecy law needs to be removed. Well i think the world bank said that long ago. Anyone with half a brain can see that the bank secrecy law was designed to hide & steal without getting caught illegal monies. If it was so important for the integrity of banks then why doesnt it cover a normal peso account. Only the rich have dollar accounts ( & corrupt ). But didnt the senate not to long ago vote to retain the bank secrecy law as they said it would undermine the integrity ( or something like that ) of the banks. What a load of hogwash, its just again another case of smoke & mirrors. All of us if we want to start really getting these criminals should be screaming for the removal of the bank secrecy laws. Thats just the first step, but its the biggest step of all. It would make agencies like the AMLC much more effective & successful. So government & all previous& future governments of the PHilippines remove the bank secrecy law.
    If you think im exaggerating or trying to mislead you then just google it & read wikipedia. Then you will be under no illusion about this, the government know all this but they also know how easy it is to dupe the filipino.

    • Getting rid of the dynasty families own the government agencies would also help.
      Stop treating government like a family owned business.

      Pass a real anti dynasty law

  5. nagtatanga tangahan ang mga bank officials ng RCBC at tinuloy na ma-withdraw ang perang na-hack from Bangladesh.

    itong Sri Lankan bank, na isang mahirap na bansa, inalerto ang Sri Lankan Central Bank about the money received from a hacked account. obvious naman na suspicious ang money kaya inalerto ang Sri Lankan Central Bank.

    pero itong RCBC officials, hinayaang ma-withdraw ang millions of money at ma-remit sa account ng fictitious persons.

    • read the news article “6 Sri Lankans banned from leaving after Bangladesh bank hack”

  6. AMLC is useless as “tits on a bull”, it only acts as a toll to harass political opponents of boy sisi. Did AMLC found out who,how much did the senators got for convicting SC judge Corona? we only found out about DAP because jinggoy blew it out.

  7. AMLC is part of the cover up. AMLC officials are covering up for RCBC and maybe a much bigger bank (which may not be involved in the current heist but may indeed also have questionable transactions that have gone below the radar of regulator scrutiny.)

    RCBC president LORENZO V. TAN and Banco de Oro president NESTOR V. TAN are brothers. In 2012, a relative – a former official of RCBC Securities died in Subic while swimming with a friend who happens to own the NEW yacht they sailed on and and known to be ONE of the OWNERS of PHILREM.

    RCBC and BDO are the only two banks affiliated with PHILREM. You can verify on its website and see for yourself: http://www.philrem.net/pages/contactus.php

    PHILREM is also part of the conspiracy. Its Chinese owners OUGHT TO BE UNMASKED! But, not one SENATOR ever bothered to request the representatives from the Securities and Exchange Commission who were present at the two senate hearings to submit or present to the committee the articles of incorporation and related documents of PHILREM.

    AMLC and DOJ are running after the small and medium size fishes. The BIG SHARKS – RCBC and PHILREM (maybe BDO, too?) are being cuddled by them.


    • The ties that bind.

      Jerome Tan is the former RCBC Securities official.

      SMIC (SM Investments Corp) and Belle Corporation (co-owner of Tagaytay Highlands – the getaway of the Philippine’s rich and famous together with SM Group) are JOINT VENTURE partners of Melco Crown in forming and establishing Manila’s newest casino “City of Dreams.”

      Hmmm… that’s where a huge chunk of the money was laundered.

    • dahil kinasuhan na si wong, parang naiimagine ko na “i invoke…” sa senado. kaya tapat alisin na amlc!

    • Yes Sir. There is such thing as Criminal Science. In masterminding a crime, position yourself at the upper layer, layout a complex network of fast lanes, appoint top operators to man these lanes, at the tail ends of the network, create choke points and man these with salaried employees.
      Once the crime is accidentally uncovered, the investigators would all converge at one or two of the choke points. Behold whose holding the proverbial empty bag! The fall guys.

    • amado abejero on

      Thanks for the info. I strongly urge the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to consider it very seriously.

    • Thank you for this very important revelation. Ms. Deguito is used as pawn or scapegoat of RCBC’s big fish, William Go, Philrem and host of scumbags in cahoots with the AMLC.

  8. I am surprised at AMLAC that there were numerous transaction that day. These is a 4 billion transaction and you did not check ? I believe AMLAC officials were a part of the heist because they appeared to be blind. So are RCBC upper management that received and transmitted the stop payment order. There is an obvious robbery and nobody, nobody in the RCBC head office followed up the payment stop order. This is a very well planned robbery. From Bangladesh central Bank to RCBC
    head office, to the branch, to the remittance center to the casinos to the hackers and lastly to the Chinese mafia that has connections to our politicians. It appears like a fiction novel but it is true. A group of bankers and mafia operators planned this heist. I bet you nothing will come up with this investigation. The major players are gone.

  9. The AMLC admitted that it was clueless

    Only thing AMLC is good for is attacking liberal party opposition and leaking confidential reports.