THE Senate blue ribbon committee wants the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to explain why it excluded “other players” in the laundering of $81 million stolen funds from Bangladesh from the complaint it filed at the Department of Justice last week.
Senator Aquilino Pimentel 3rd, a member of the blue ribbon panel, said if the AMLC found Kam Sin Wong alias Kim Wong and Weikang Xu liable for violating Section 4 (a) and (b) of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) of 2001, it should also include the other individuals who made it possible for the two to get the money.
The senator was referring to businessman William So Go and officials and personnel of Philrem Service Corporation and Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC).
“How come they have not been included in the cases? There must be a reason,” Pimentel said in an interview.
The AMLC, in a nine-page complaint, accused Wong and Xu of violating the AMLA based on testimonies of witnesses who attended the Senate investigation of the money scam.
Some witnesses claimed that Wong got $21.6 million while Xu got $59.2 million from the laundered amount.
In its complaint, the AMLC said Wong received $21.6 million through his firm Eastern Hawaii Leisure Company Limited and transferred most of the amount to his personal account at the Philippine National Bank (PNB).
Wong’s name appeared as the incorporator of Eastern Hawaii, a company that operates a hotel-casino at the Cagayan Special Economic Zone.
Xu, on the other hand, received $18 million and P600 million delivered to him by Salud Bautista, president of Philrem from February 5 to 13 this year.
Another transfer was made to Solaire casino, amounting to $28.7 and was later transferred to Xu, based on testimonies of Solaire Casino Corporate Secretary Silverio Tan.
Pimentel said if Wong and Xu were indicted, the other persons who facilitated the money transfer should also be charged.
“I am not insisting that they [Go, Philrem and RCBC] be included but I want to hear the reason why they have not been included,” the senator pointed out.
Pimentel, who also heads the Senate Committee on Justice, said he will grill AMLC officials on the non-inclusion of other players in the complaint when the Senate resumes its investigation on Tuesday.
Go is the supposed owner of the account at RCBC Jupiter Branch (Makati City) where most of the $81 million was deposited after it was withdrawn from four fictitious accounts also in the same branch.
Go, however, denied owning an account in the RCBC Jupiter Branch although he admitted having an account at the bank’s Trinoma branch.
Senators expect Wong to show up in the next hearing.
Senator Sergio Osmeña 3rd, chairman of the Senate Committee on Banks, said Wong will have to explain his role in the scandal.
Osmeña also wants RCBC officials to show that they exercised due diligence over suspicious transactions such as the transfer of the $81 million stolen by hackers from the account of Bangladesh Bank with The Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
The money was then wired to the RCBC Jupiter Branch, landing in four bank accounts, which bank manager Maia Santos-Deguito helped open last year.
Last week, RCBC fired Deguito and her assistant, Angela Torres, over the scandal.
The bank said the two were fired for violating bank policies and procedures and falsification of commercial documents and for facilitating the alleged money-laundering of the $81 million.
It added that charges will be filed against Deguito and Torres this week.
Deguito, however, had denied any wrongdoing.