The Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) branch manager Maia Deguito’s admission that she opened an account for William Go, a Filipino-Chinese businessman, on orders of a certain Kim Wong proves that she violated bank rules and committed a serious crime, the bank president’s counsel said.
Deguito made the admission in a TV interview on March 14.
The identity of Kim Wong was not immediately clear, but his name was included in the list of six persons investigated by the Anti-Money Laundering Council.
“This is a major break in the case and could prove devastating for Deguito because nobody can legally open an account for somebody else. Perhaps realizing she made a huge mistake, she is now saying the specimen signature of Go was not forged,” said Francis Lim, counsel for RCBC president Lorenzo Tan.
Go, through his lawyer Ramon Esguerra, however, had disowned the account.
He claimed that he was initially offered P10 million by Deguito to “own” it and the amount was doubled to P20 million by an unnamed lawyer in a subsequent meeting.
Go said he refused both offers.
Lim said Deguito has a lot to explain because her admission implies a violation of bank rules and the law.
According to him, the Jupiter branch manager now has at least two persons contradicting her statements: Go and Tan.
Tan earlier described as an “outright lie” Deguito’s claim that he knew of the transactions involving $81 million deposited in four accounts in the Jupiter branch.
Deguito subsequently said she “assumed” that Tan knew about it because of the big amount involved.
Lim said the admission will definitely influence the discussion when the Senate blue ribbon committee conducts a hearing about the supposed money-laundering issue involving RCBC.
Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) also on Monday said it is ready to help the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) in its investigation of the controversy.
PNP chief Ricardo Marquez said he believes in the capability of the Anti-Cybercrime Group.
WITH ANTHONY VARGAS