• RCBC faces money laundering probe

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    The Yuchengco-led Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) is facing an investigation into possible money laundering involving $81-million worth of stolen funds allegedly deposited in one of its Makati branches, and said it will cooperate with government regulators but will continue to be cognizant of its bank secrecy obligations.

    The funds were said to be part of more than $100 million reportedly taken by hackers from an account of the Bangladesh central bank in New York. Further reports alleged that the money was laundered through deposits to four bank accounts in RCBC via wire transfers to the bank’s branch on Jupiter Street in Makati City.

    RCBC stressed that it would cooperate with the ongoing investigation into the deposit of the funds and subsequent transactions, which were also reported to involve several casinos.

    “RCBC and its principal shareholders—the Yuchengco family, Cathay Life, the largest life insurance company in Taiwan, and IFC (International Finance Corp., the investment arm of the World Bank)—are fully committed to complying with all banking laws and regulations, in particular those on money laundering,” RCBC stated.

    The lender said it has submitted the required reports to the Anti-Money Laundering Council and will cooperate with government regulators.

    For its part, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) refused to give any comment on the matter.

    The bank said its internal investigation would involve a committee appointed by the board, assisted by SGV and external counsel.

    In addition, the bank gave its assurance that it will issue subsequent reports and statements as the investigation progresses.

    However, it said it will be cognizant of its bank secrecy obligations and will at all times maintain confidentiality of its accounts.

    Meanwhile, RCBC President and Chief Executive Officer Lorenzo Tan believes that the bank’s management will be fully vindicated once the investigation was completed.

    “I will fully cooperate with all ongoing inquiries and believe that I and consequently the bank’s management will be fully vindicated,” he said.

    “I condemn as malicious and actionable insinuations that the top management of the bank knew of and tolerated alleged money laundering activities in one branch,” Tan said.

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