The owners of Philrem Service Corp. (Philrem) have disputed the money laundering charges filed against them at the Department of Justice (DOJ) in connection with the entry into the country of $81 million stolen from Bangladesh through the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC).
Spouses Salud and Michael “Concon” Bautista argued that the charges filed against them by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) have no legal basis.
In their 37-page joint counter-affidavit, the couple said “there is nothing in the complaint and its annexes that would even remotely establish that an unlawful activity or predicate crime has in fact been committed.”
“Aside from the bare allegations in the complaint, there is nothing else to substantiate the claim that there was an unlawful activity to speak of. Since it is incumbent upon [AMLC] to prove all the elements of the offense of money laundering, it must be able to show through evidence that there was an actual predicate crime,” they said.
“[O]ur penal laws are enforceable only within the Philippines’ territory. Applying the foregoing, there could have been no [predicate]crime committed in violation of RA No. 8792. Therefore, the AMLC’s theory that a predicate crime under RA No. 8792 was committed must necessarily fail,” they added. “[I]t is incumbent on [AMLC] to prove that the laws where the purported activity occurred, whether Bangladesh or elsewhere, penalizes the acts and transactions which preceded the movement of the subject funds.”
They insisted that their participation in the transactions was limited to the servicing of the remittance transaction referred by RCBC.”
“All we did was accept clear, transferrable and tradeable funds and delivered them to their respective beneficiaries in accordance with the instructions relayed to us,” the couple said.
The AMLC in the complaint accused Philrem of commingling funds, acting as a cleaning house “to make it extremely difficult to trace the source and flow of the funds by avoiding all anti-money laundering measures set by laws and regulations.”
The agency claimed that $61 million was transferred to the peso account of Philrem with RCBC-Unimart Greenhills in February 2016.