BANGLADESH Ambassador to the Philippines John Gomes on Wednesday hit back at Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) for refusing to admit responsibility and to return money allegedly stolen by hackers from the Bangladesh central bank.
“RCBC has to accept its failures and negligence when they did not adhere to stop payment instructions as was also discussed extensively in the Senate,” Gomes told The Manila Times.
He pointed out that RCBC was already made liable when it was fined P1 billion by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. Last week, the Anti-Money Laundering Council filed criminal charges against two former and four current officials of the Yuchengo-led RCBC before the Department of Justice (DOJ) over the $81-million heist.
Accused of money laundering were former RCBC treasurer Raul Victor Tan; Ismael Reyes, national sales director under the bank’s retail banking group; Brigitte Capiña, regional sales director; Nestor Pineda, direct sales director; Romualdo Agarrado, customer service head of the RCBC Jupiter Business Center; and Angela Ruth Torres, former senior customer relations officer.
“$15 million has been already returned to Bangladesh which went through RCBC treasury, and then other amounts transferred to different quarters including a large amount landing into casinos illegally,” Gomes said.
Gomes also said the Bangladesh Criminal Investigation Department was carrying out its own investigation in the February heist, in which $81 million in Bangladesh Bank reserves at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York made their way to RCBC accounts and laundered to remittance agents and big casinos.
In a statement on Tuesday, RCBC claimed it was not liable to pay any amount and urged Bangladesh Bank to be transparent to the Philippine government on the results of its own investigation.