De Lima: Bank officials liable

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The cross-border transfer of $81 million hacked from an account of the Bank of Bangladesh with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is alarming for the Philippines because it shows a local bank’s non-compliance with regulatory policies, former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said.

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“Despite provisions of the AMLA [the Philippines’ Anti-Money Laundering Law]and regulations of the AMLC [Anti-Money Laundering Council] being already in place, such a huge amount still found its way to what appears to be fictitious accounts opened at the Jupiter Branch of the RCBC without raising any alarm bells from RCBC authorities. This indicates a breakdown in the bank’s compliance with BSP and AMLC regulatory policies,” de Lima said, referring to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank).

RCBC is the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp.

“Banks and other financial institutions should hold the highest level of integrity to continue earning the trust of depositors and investors. As frontliners, these institutions have the responsibility to make sure money cycled into the local financial system remains legitimate,” the former Justice chief said.

De Lima backed the stance of Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Teresita Herbosa that the Anti-Money Laundering Law should be amended to cover casinos and other establishments known for high cash flows as among the institutions subject to AMLC compliance.

The Senate started its investigation of the issue on Tuesday but RCBC Jupiter Branch bank manager Maia Santos-Deguito refused to answer questions.

De Lima, however, is not convinced of Deguito’s innocence.

“I urge RCBC Bank Manager Maia Santos-Deguito to tell all that she knows. Undoubtedly, either she is the lone culprit or the convenient scapegoat in this crime,” she said.

“But since it is highly unlikely that she was the mastermind, she remains to be the key in unraveling this complex hacking and money-laundering operation, and is therefore indispensable in identifying the people actually behind it,” de Lima added.

The law excludes real-estate property and casino operations as areas of concern, contrary to recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force, an inter-government anti-money laundering watchdog, to include casinos in the list of entities required to report to regulators.

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6 Comments

  1. A message to Dequito, this is the end of your happy family life. Surely , you will go to jail for a very long time. There is a possibility that you will die in prison. You will not be happy spending your stolen money. Your child will grow up without a mother. Your husband without you will separate from you and marry another girl and spend all your stolen money. That is definitely going to happen. You and Napoles will have the same future, both of you will rot in jail.

    • Depends who is involved other than her, In most countries the names of the others would of already been made available to the public and they would have been arrested.

      In the Philippines she says that she will talk only in private to the senate.

      Lets watch as the media stop covering this story so it will disappear from the peoples attention without any further news of who was involved.

  2. De Lima is merely grandstanding for the electorate. What a clown! She should have attended to the abuses at BJMP while she was still with the Department of Justice.

  3. matinong pinoy on

    RCBC Bank Manager Maia Santos-Deguito is NOT the lone culprit and you DO NOT ask her to tell all that she knows. This suspect should be INTERROGATED, because it is very clear that this is an INSIDE JOB and hacking might have never occurred in a first place. They just created a scene that looks like hackers did this. The money was purposely sent to that specific bank, that goes into that specific account. The Bank Manager was heavily involved in this illegal transaction and she, personally, cleared the way for this transaction to happen. A very plain and simple analysis.

    Investigators should ask themselves about the timing of this transaction. If I am one of the investigators on this case, I would be telling myself –all this dirty money probably belongs to a dirty politician(s) and use this for buying votes! (now that the VVPAT is activated and politicians wishing to buy votes can now see the evidence where their money was spent) I would go on and theorize that this amount of money, which is almost P4 Billion, would give that politician an edge, more chance, or higher probability in getting elected, along with any relative running for local office. I would only keep this to myself but probing a little bit deeper must continue.

  4. Sonny Dungca on

    In the first place, why were the casinos exempted as areas of concern? Something fishy? Was it because it was required by the big casino players as a precondition for their entry to the Philippines? A question that can only be answered by the president of RP.

  5. Good thing De Lima isn’t in charge of the justice dept anymore, when she was the head of the justice dept out of 20 senators who gave their pork barrel millions to Napoles she arrested 3 opposition senators, didn’t charge any of the Liberal Party senators and let them keep the kickbacks.

    De Lima was just a puppet whose strings were controlled by the President as in don’t arrest any of my allies.