VACC CONFIRMS DEATH THREATS ON RCBC’S DEGUITO

‘Bigger’ bosses linked to launder

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LAUNDRY LIST William Go files a case for falsification of public documents against Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Jupiter Branch manager Maia Santos-Deguito and her assistant Angela Torres before the Makati City Prosecutors Office on Friday. The case stemmed from Torres saying that Go had personally received from her P20 million from his account at the bank branch. (Inset) Deguito, who says she has received death threats over the laundering of $81 million stolen from a foreign bank. PHOTOS BY RUSSELL PALMA AND CESAR DANCEL

LAUNDRY LIST William Go files a case for falsification of public documents against Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Jupiter Branch manager Maia Santos-Deguito and her assistant Angela Torres before the Makati City Prosecutors Office on Friday. The case stemmed from Torres saying that Go had personally received from her P20 million from his account at the bank branch. (Inset) Deguito, who says she has received death threats over the laundering of $81 million stolen from a foreign bank. PHOTOS BY RUSSELL PALMA AND CESAR DANCEL

“Bigger” persons are behind the laundering in the Philippines of $81 million stolen from a foreign central bank and the chairman of the Senate blue ribbon committee on Friday disclosed that their names are starting to float.

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Sen. Teofisto Guingona 3rd at the same time said he is convinced that Maia Santos-Deguito, manager of Jupiter Branch in Makati City of Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) where the $81 million was deposited, is not the “most guilty” in the controversy and the blue ribbon committee is determined in pursuing other individuals involved.

The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) also on Friday confirmed that Deguito has been receiving death threats arising from the money mess.

In an interview after the Senate hearing on the laundering controversy, Guingona said it
appears that there are “bigger” persons behind the mess and their names are beginning to emerge based on testimonies given by Deguito during an executive session on Thursday.

“It seems right now, that she [Deguito] was, to say the least, negligent but there are bigger persons behind this whole thing, and [their]names are coming out already,” he added.

The Jupiter Branch bank manager, at the resumption of the hearing by the Senate blue ribbon committee on the $81-million heist, linked RCBC president Lorenzo Tan to Kim Wong, whom she claimed to be the one who referred the opening of the dollar accounts of Michael Cruz, Jessie Lagrosas, Alfred Vergara and Enrico Vasquez on May 2015, with an initial deposit of $500 each.

The four accounts remained idle for several months and it was only last February when huge dollar deposits went to the accounts.

The biggest deposit was made to the account of Lagrosas amounting to $30 million.
Some P19 million entered the Vergara account, $25 million the Vasquez and $6 million the Cruz account.

These deposits were where withdrawn and deposited to the RCBC account of businessman William Go, who owns Centurytex Trading, a brokerage firm.

Go denied owning the account and insisted that he never opened an account in RCBC Jupiter Branch.

Deguito claimed Wong is a friend of Tan because it was the RCBC president who instructed her during a birthday party of a common friend, Jason Go, to “take care” of Wong.

The RCBC manager said she personally knew Wong when she was still with the Export Bank back in 2009.

When asked what Tan meant when she was told to take care of Wong, Deguito said she it means that she should give “preferential treatment” to Wong.

But the RCBC president denied the statement of the bank manager and insisted that he has no business with Wong although he admitted that he met him in 2002.

Guingona, however, said that it is premature to conclude that Tan might have some involvement in the controversy, noting that the hearing is ongoing and that the committee is still far from wrapping up its investigation.

He admitted that the names of two other RCBC officials were mentioned by Deguito in the executive session and whom the committee might invite to the next hearing.

“There are names that came out as we dig deeper into the issue and I don’t see this hearing ending soon,” the blue ribbon chairman said.

Senator Sergio Osmena 3rd, in a separate interview, said Deguito might not be a major player in the heist and it is obvious that there are bigger individuals behind her.

He added that Deguito is just one of the many participants and it seems that Wong is one of the major players.

“Well, she could be a semi [player]but not the major [player]. There was an orchestrator and that looks like that [it]is Kim Wong,” Osmena said.

A remittance company that converted most of the stolen cash could also be in deep trouble despite its offer to return some P10 million it earned for its services.

“Well, it’s a good gesture but we have a few more questions for Philrem,” Osmena said.
According to the senator, the penalty in the law is two times the amount, meaning that if the amount involved is $81 million, then the remittance firm should return $162 million.

“So the penalty is not what you earn from it, the penalty is two times the amount plus up to 14 years in jail. So this is a rather serious point,” Osmena said.

PhilRem president Salud Bautista during the Senate hearing said the company will return the P10.4 million it earned for the stolen $81 million that entered the country through RCBC.

PhilRem converted some of the amount to pesos and delivered the money in cash tranches to registered casino junket operator Kam Sin Wong, Bloomberry Hotels Incorporated (Solaire Resort & Casino) and Eastern Hawaii Leisure Company.

Threat

Meanwhile, the VACC also on Friday confirmed that the threats to Deguito’s safety are real and no less than the Jupiter Branch bank manager asked for the support of the organization.

According to Dante Jimenez, founding chairman of the group, Deguito through a letter asked for theVACC’s support because of the powerful personalities involved in the controversy.

Deguito, during the Senate hearing, denied a statement of RCBC Jupiter Branch customer service head Romualdo Agarrado, who claimed hearing Deguito say that she needs to process a P20-million withdrawal from Go’s account, otherwise, she or her family will be killed.

In a handwritten letter supposedly signed by Deguito to Jimenez dated March 14, 2016, the RCBC branch manager asked for the assistance of the VACC on matters of security and her safety because of the powerful people involved in the controversy.

“Due to the involvement of powerful personalities in the said controversy, she hereby respectfully requests the support of your organization on matters of her safety, security as well as moral support,” Deguito stated in her letter to VACC.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has issued a subpoena to Deguito, ordering her to appear before the department on April 12 and 19.

This is in connection with the money-laundering case filed against her before the Justice department by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

Deguito will undergo preliminary investigation and be given the time to rebut the allegations filed against her.

She was also ordered to submit proof and documents that shall rebut the charges filed against her.

The subpoena was issued by Assistant State Prosecutor Gilmarie Fe Pacamarra, who will conduct the probe.

Deguito was also mandated to file her counter-affidavits and supporting documents to prove her innocence.

The charge filed against Deguito originated from the AMLC case after she approved the opening of bank accounts wherein the $81 million is being suspected as laundered money from the Bangladesh Bank.

The DOJ also ordered to appear before it four John Does, who own the bank accounts allegedly involved in the case and where the money was transferred.

Among those being implicated were Michael Franciso Cruz, Jessie Christopher Lagrosas, Alfred Santos Vergara and Enrico Teodoro Vasquez.

The AMLC, in its nine-page complaint affidavit, alleged that Deguito failed to verify the owner of the supposed bank accounts and she even ordered the withdrawal of the same
despite the formal request of stop payment from the Bangladesh Bank.
WITH JOMAR CANLAS

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22 Comments

  1. people would be happier to see the police/nbi making arrests, rather than the Senate doing the “investigation”.

  2. this is amazing. shouldn’t the real investigators, the NBI, be investigating this already?

  3. This “know your client policy” is really the black hole in the banking system. This policy had facilitated in the released on the laundered money. The involved personalities here are well known in the banking and business sectors. How can Deguito exert more efforts to determined if transaction is really100% legit if she already knew the client. It should be know the amount policy first. Isn’t it the AMLC law has a treshold amount that will ring the bell to trigger investigation and suspend or hold the money temporarily till the invetigation is done.

  4. The Philippine government should ask RCBC to return $81 million to Bangladesh Bank. It is quite clear that this bank was a party to this hacking and is liable to pay back the money. The Governor of central bank in Bangladesh has resigned and two Deputy Governors has been sacked a consequence of this heist. The reputation of Philippine and the integrity of it’s banking system is now at stake.The Philippine Senate is doing a commendable job but only hearing is not enough. We, Bangladeshis want to see real action that will help us to get back our money.

  5. The Philippine government should ask RCBC to return $81 million to Bangladesh Bank. It is quite clear that this bank was a party to this hacking and is liable to pay back the money. The Governor of central bank in Bangladesh has resigned and two Deputy Governors has been sacked a consequence of this heist. The reputation of Philippine and the integrity of it’s banking system is now at stake.The Philippine Senate is doing a commendable job but only hearing is not enough. We, Bangladeshis want to see real action that will help us to get our money.

  6. One need not be a lawyer to realize that these greedy chinese are behind it. Laundering money thru casinos is basically Laundering101,,,

  7. Migs Doromal on

    Most Filipinos are unaware that RCBC president Lorenzo V. Tan is the elder brother of Nestor V. Tan, president of Banco De Oro (BDO.)

    Now go visit the website of PHILREM. The above are the only two banks affiliated with the remittance company.

    In 2012, former RCBC Securities official, Jerome Tan, a relative, drowned in Subic while swimming with a friend who owned the new yacht the two sailed in. Said companion was known to be one of the owners of PHILREM.

    Now here comes the oldest senator of the land, Juan Ponce Enrile.

    JPE was chummy to ex-president GMA and FG. The couple rewarded him the Cagayan Special Economic Zone Authority or CEZA which manages and operates online gaming inside the special zone. But, due to increasing demand and customer traffic, a decision was made to migrate a significant segment of the operations to satellite hubs in Manila – most notably in Makati. Now, make a wild guess.

    RCBC Plaze. Yep, the Yuchengco owned RCBC Plaza.

    So, before you cast that stone on Miss Dequito, I suggest to gather more bigger stones or ROCKS!

    Miss Dequito is but a small cog in this big machine that connived to steal and swallow a huge chunk of money from one of the poorest nations on earth ($28B in reserves at the Federal Reserve Bank i guess is small.)

    • this is philippines. no amount of logic and reason can make justice happen. the big fishes get away at the end of the day. nobody cares.

  8. Deguito denied Agarrado’s testimony alleging Deguito needed to process a P20-million withdrawal from Go’s account, otherwise, she or her family will be killed. Yet, in Deguito’s letter to VACC, Deguito claims that her security and safety are being threatened. Deguito also stated that her life, as well as her family’s, was under threat when she gave a televised interview after she was offloaded from her flight for Japan. These show inconsistencies in Deguito’s statements.

    • Migs Doromal on

      There was no threat prior to her appearance at the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.

      When she spilled the beans… the circumstances changed.

    • alvintsamaria68@yahoo.com on

      There are big players involved…..those who can afford to pay high caliber lawyers to cover for them…..Deguito is also guilty due to her NEGLIGENCE for assuming due to their bank valued client relationship….this will not happen without someone from the RCBC higher up giving the nod to proceed with this kind of transaction….simple lang ang kasong ito…pero ang maHIRAP AY ANG PAGHULI SA MGA BIG TIME PLAYERS kasi naka-paligid ang mga high caliber lawyers…..sa kanila….just look at what is unfolding…Deguito has been sued left & right…

    • don’t be fooled to think there are no big players involved. this is 81$million. and the hackers knew what to do.

  9. I was wondering why AMLC only charged Dequito and the 4 faked account holders. Bakit hindi kasama si Go? Mukhang nilinis na agad ang mga intsik bago pa maglabasan ng baho. At nagmamadali. Para hindi magsalita sa open hearing si Deguito? Ang daming perang umikot dito. To think na involved si Tan at Go. Bakit hindi tingnan ng Senate yung systematic money laundering scheme ng mga bangko? Nabulilyaso lang sila ngayon dahil yung original source ng fund ay hacked at involved ang FBI. E yung araw araw na money laundering na ang pera ay galing Triad, Yakuza at mga Russian Mafia?

  10. Salvador Tuy on

    What happened to Deqlguito’s right against self incrimination? Is she represented by counsel or lawyer? Did she request for full immunity?

  11. That money, the entire $81 million is for campaign contribution purposes apparently for candidates who are basically independent and do not have enough money to finance a campaign. These candidates are now the favorites of the outgoing President. Guess who?

  12. $25m by Bangladesh Bank on behalf of the government’s The Kanchpur, Meghna and Gumti 2nd Bridges Construction project.

    The amount was remitted to the account of Vasquez purportedly for the payment of a “loan” from Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica).

    A payment for $30m to Lagrosas, an IT professional, likewise under a Jica “loan,” was on behalf of Dhaka Mass Rapid Trans Dev project.

    A $6m payment order on behalf of an IPFF project cell to pay for Cruz’s consultancy fees.

    Another payment worth $19m was supposedly from Bheramara Combined Cycle Power Plant Development Project with Vergara as a beneficiary, citing “engineering consulting fees.”

  13. AMLC should focus on the big fish or the mastermind of the money laundering. The government agencies should summon Kim Wong, Go and Tan all at the same time. They have to be fully investigated and tried. I truly believe that Dequito is made the scape goat and could have been blackmailed or worst killed if not immediately protected. I am sure there are high government officials who will protect this big time businessmen through bride or blackmailing. Stay tune..

    • Kam Si Wong was implicated before during d Senate hearing maybe 10yrs ago pertaining to drugs >His name cropped up and he was summoned to appear in d Senate hearings.He was or is the 14K triad boss in Philippines.He was originally from China .At that time of d Senate hearing i remember he mentioned he has resided in d Philippines for 21yrs already .He owns d seafood restaurant fronting the wharf at Roxas Boulevad.Mary Ong knows this fairly well.Old tree never bends.
      I’m perplexed none of the sitting Senators seem not to know him those some of them were present during the Senate hearings.