• Senate should unmask ‘dirty’ bankers – Recto

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    UNLESS the Philippines unmasks the people behind the transfer of dirty money to a local bank, international hackers may make the country their playground and undermine the banking industry, senators warned on Wednesday.

    Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto said the Senate should uncover the connection between a group of hackers and officials of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) if it were to solve the $81-million money laundering mystery.

    What is important, he added, is to bust the syndicate of hackers and bankers involved in the plot and put them behind bars as part of measures to protect the country’s banking system from cyber crimes.

    Recto believes that the conspiracy between banks will be fully established if the Senate could follow the paper trail on the entry of money stolen from the Bangladesh central bank.

    The Senate blue ribbon committee will resume its investigation of the matter today.

    Senator Teofisto Guingona 3rd, chairman of the committee, said the incident is “very concerning” because unless the Philippine government will be able to show that it is serious in its fight against money laundering, the country may be blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) when it reviews the country’s policies.

    To avoid getting blacklisted, the government pushed for the amendment the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 and passed several measures to strengthen Republic Act 10365, which expands a list of entities required to report financial transactions to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

    The list includes pre-need companies, money changers, real estate agents and dealers in precious stones and metal.

    The amendment did not include casinos, however.

    Guingona said the committee found two “inadequacies” in its first hearing — the system being implement by RCBC and the non-inclusion of casinos in the list of covered institutions of AMLA.

    “It’s hard to believe that there was no human error in $81-million transaction because it is obvious that it was premeditated. The fact that the accounts did not have any movement for about a year and then suddenly [$20 million, $30M] goes in,that is really a sign that there is a plan and that not one person can do this,” he noted in an interview.

    The Bangladesh Bank claimed that hackers stole money from its account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

    The money was wired to four RCBC accounts under the names of Enrico Vasquez, Alfred Vergara, Michael Cruz and Jessie Christopher Lagrosas.

    The money was withdrawn and deposited in the bank account of businessman William So Go and was later transferred through Philrem, a remittance company, to Solaire, Weikang Xu and Eastern Hawaii Leisure Co.

    On Tuesday, bank officials refused to answer questions.

    Maia Santos-Deguito, the bank manager of RCBC Jupiter Branch where the four accounts were opened, requested an executive session but it was denied.

    Recto said Deguito should be allowed to talk behind closed doors because “her testimony is crucial in identifying all the characters involved in the plot and in connecting the dots to unravel the mystery behind the cyber heist.”

    A complaint has been filed against Deguito at the Justice department.

    Recto said the blue ribbon panel should find out who are the hackers’ contacts in RCBC and how they were able to transfer such a huge sum of money in such a short time.

    “Unless these questions are answered and the loopholes in money laundering are plugged, international hackers may consider the Philippines as a playground for cyber crimes,” Recto warned.

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    8 Comments

    1. This problem shall be settled before Duterte takes his oath as President.
      We take note that he is telling us that he will Kill the criminals.
      RCBC is trying to compete with the one-armed-bandit of the Casino.

    2. Investigation is a big and lucrative business.The incriminating question costs less. The irrelevant question has a higher tag price.

    3. When there is collusion between 2 or more parties and with the bank secrecy law, it will be impossible to know what happen, the people connected with the fraud and collecting and recovering what was left if there is any. The only sure thing is for Central Banh of Bangladesh to sue RCBC since this bank is responsible and it is their employees that stole the money. This will be the end of RCBC because the amount is around 4 billion pesos and RCBC does not have that amount of money. They will be applying for bankruptcy and a bank run will follow. As for Dequito, without her participation, this should not have happen. This will be the end of her freedom and she will rot in jail. It must be greed that drove her, ExPres Arroyo, Joesph Estrada, jejomar Binay, Bong REVILLA, Purisima, Abad, Naguiat, Sen Estrada and the rest of the group.

    4. It’s very clear that there is a pattern evolving here. I think that the money laundering scheme was fully instituted in our banking system here. But the origin of those finances are different from what we have in this present fiasco. To think that Deguito knew William Go from her EastWest days. Money laundering were already being done before but the money could be coming from triad et al. Lorenzo Tan pirated Deguito from EastWest to strengthen his money laundering operations in RCBC. So everything went well for several years. Walang pumapalag so everything flows smoothly. Kaya lang this time, the source was the hacked account of a foreign government Central Bank in a US Federal Reserve. Yun sumabog sa lahat. Ng marealize ng sindigato ang problem, kinontak agad ni Deguito yung usual partner nya na si Go to help her, dangling a 10 million price. Escape goat. Buti wise tong si Go at tinurn down. Nagdamage control ang sindigato and asks Deguito to escape to Japan and from there siguro to another country where we don’t have an expatriation treaty. Na naharang naman sa airport. Ayun pumutok na sa mga mukha nila. Ang kakapal. Kanya kanya ng laglagan. Sabi ni Osmena ay hindi involve si Tan dahil marami na raw pera? One word lang iyan, your honor … GREED. 30% commission sa laundered funds. 20% goes to the head and the rest divided among the people involved. At the end of the day, maaayos din yan. Masesave si Tan at makukulong si Deguito na syempre may kapalit from Tan na baka billions of pesos.

      • I still believe this is the work of the big time Chinese syndicate operating in our country. Dequito is the scape goat. Full stop.

    5. The Senate should repeal the law of bank confidentiality as this are being used not only by the bank officials, politicians, rich depositors, drug and criminal syndicates to cover their crimes. Majority of poor or ordinary bank depositors will have no objection if the bank secrecy law will be repeal and removed.
      Mayor Duterte and Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano waived their bank secrecy rights, will you do the same, Senator Recto, other candidates for President, Vice President, Senators and Congressmen and all politicians. Will you all AGREE?

    6. Leodegardo Pruna on

      The BSP should unmask the bankers involved in the scam, not the senate. But, the senate should unmask the BSP personnel who were in cahoots with the perpetrators of the scam. Recto is trying to make use of the investigation to up his ranking but would simply be eroding his position. Grandstanding, wow! God save the Philippines.

    7. matino na pinoy on

      Is there a law in the Philippines that protect the privacy of criminals? Is this the reason why their identities / pictures / mug shots cannot be released to the public? Sen. Recto, and to all the politicians elected into offices should serve the people, and in reality, they are all classified as PUBLIC SERVANTS, serving the people, working for the people.

      Hacker(s) in Bangladesh hacked the Federal Reserve Bank in New York that handles Bangladesh account, sent the huge amount of money to Philippine Bank and to a specific account number. When Bangladesh Bank notified the Federal Reserve Bank in New York that their system has been breeched because a huge amount of illegal or unauthorized withdrawal occurred during certain time on certain day. After investigation by the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, There were no breeched that occurred at all. The President of Bangladesh Central Bank Has resigned.

      With the actual situation mentioned above, there were no hacking involved. It was well coordinated effort done by these participants. From withdrawing the money from Federal Reserve Bank in New York to the depository of the money to Philippine Bank was done smoothly. All these crime participants knew exactly what they were doing because they know the pass codes, security codes, passwords, Bank account numbers, routing numbers, and all the sequences that they have to go through during the transaction. The RCBC Bank President knows all the stories because she is in the LOOP and she must be interrogated accordingly to include the owner of the account, Drag the Bank owner into the investigation, as well, and leave no stone unturned.

      One more thing I want to add is to consider the timing as well. Why now? election time? is it a coincidence or it was done purposely? this money may be used for election purposes? These are the few questions I would be asking myself.