THE Bangladesh government may file criminal charges against individuals involved in the $81 million money laundering scandal even if the stolen money is returned, according to John Gomes, Bangladesh ambassador to Manila.
“There is a suggestion that we hire a lawyer so we are looking into that. We are talking to our government about having a local law firm to represent us if need be so let’s see what happens,” Gomes said in an interview.
The envoy added that their priority right now is to make sure that the $81 million stolen by hackers is returned.
He said Bangladesh respects what the Senate and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) are doing in tracing the money and pinning down those involved in the transfer of the loot.
“We have not yet decided about filing a case against anyone here, except to wait after the Senate hearing concludes and also after the AMLC finally decides about [its]own filing of cases and all,” Gomes said.
The AMLC has only filed money laundering charges against eight individuals including Chinese junket operator Kam Sin “Kim” Wong and Chinese junket player Weikang Xu before the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Also accused of violating Section 4 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) were Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) Jupiter Branch manager Maia Santos-Deguito and the owners of the RCBC Jupiter Branch accounts where the $81 million was deposited.
The council is also set to file a civil forfeiture case in a bid to get a court order that will allow the formal turnover of parts of the stolen fund that was returned recently by Wong to the AMLC.
Wong returned $4.6 million and P38 million.
He is also set to surrender another P450 million.
Solaire casino is waiting for a court order for it to return P108.6 million to the AMLC.
“It is our right to get back whatever money people have taken [from us],” Gomes said.