Bank heist a test case – De Lima

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Liberal Party senatorial candidate Leila de Lima believes that the Bangladesh bank heist case should serve as a template in fighting transnational crime.

The former Justice Secretary said that the $81 million laundering case is a test case for the country’s law enforcement and banking system.

“This should serve as a template on how we should go about fighting transnational crimes of this kind in the future so we do not end up in confusion the next time it happens, or that we are able to immediately cut off the beginning of these sorts of operations in our shores,” she said.

“It is also a test case for global cooperation among international law enforcement agencies against cyber-crime, hacking, and cross-border money-laundering,” De Lima added.


The Senate bet said that the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) should be able to pin down the culpability of the people involved in the case.

“The AMLC as the lead law enforcement agency should be in a position to determine by now the evidence to pin down the culpability of the various players involved. It should also be able to determine who among the players is most qualified to stand as state witness to facilitate the prosecution of the rest, especially those who primarily benefitted from the illegal transactions and took home the money,” De Lima said.

She added that the heist exposed the weaknesses of the country’s financial system and that casinos should be covered by the AMLA.

“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, anti-money 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,” De Lima noted.

“The Bank Secrecy Law which, compared to other modern jurisdictions, is a dinosaur that no longer protects ordinary depositors but has more often than not served as a cover for criminal enterprises, primarily plunder, corruption, drug trafficking, terrorism, and money-laundering,” she said.

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