Casino junket operator Kim Wong returned P250 million to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) on Wednesday, the last tranche of the P450 million that he promised to surrender during a previous hearing at the Senate.
Wong, represented by his legal counsel Kristoffer James Purisima, turned over the money placed inside nine large plastic bags.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Cash Department confirmed that the money returned by Wong totaled P250 million.
To date, Wong has turned over $4.63 million and P488 million in cash to the AMLC.
This represents the entire amount that Wong and his company, Eastern Hawaii Leisure Ltd., received from the $81 million in laundered funds that went through the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp.’s Jupiter Branch in Makati City (Metro Manila).
“May 5 is the last day of the 30-day period I requested the[Senate] blue ribbon committee to raise and return the funds. Today, one day before that deadline, I am turning over the balance of P250 million,” Wong said in a statement.
Since most of his personal and corporate accounts were frozen, he added, doing business has been difficult.
But he pointed out that his reputation as a casino junket operator has remained intact and that his patrons have remained loyal.
“I will concentrate on my businesses and face my court cases with the help of my lawyers.
We will prove that I have nothing to do with the money laundering and that I don’t know its origins. In the casinos, we don’t ask where the players’ money come from,” Wong said.
Also on Wednesday, Bangladeshi Ambassador John Gomes appealed to the Philippine government to help him recover the money stolen by hackers from his country.
In a media forum in San Juan City (Metro Manila), Gomes asked the Aquino administration to resolve this problem before its term expires in June 2016.
“I wish that within this administration by June, it could be resolved. It is possible for the casinos to return the money. They had enough and I have been told that they’ve already made a profit [from it], so they can easily return the money,” the Bangladeshi envoy said.
He, however, added that the issue will not affect bilateral relations between the Philippines and Bangladesh.