Senate to resume money laundering investigation

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SENATOR Teofisto Guingona 3rd, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, is determined to find out the truth behind the $81 million money laundering scandal even if the prospects of him being reelected are dim.

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Guingona in a statement said that the Senate panel will try to reconcile conflicting testimonies among the parties involved and to get more details on where all the stolen money went, given that $17 million in cash remains unaccounted for.

The Blue Ribbon panel will hold another hearing on May 19 at the 10th floor of Bayview Park Hotel along Roxas Blvd., Manila.

Guingona, who is currently on 17th place based on the partial, unofficial tally from the transparency server, earlier said his committee still needs to ferret out the whole truth and get a clearer and more accurate picture of how $81 million in stolen funds were brought into the country and laundered here, and where all the money went afterwards.

He noted that the seventh public hearing was set back by the failure of the lawyers of key witnesses—casino junket operator Kam Sin “Kim” Wong; dismissed Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) Jupiter branch manager Maia Santos Deguito and PhilRem owner Michael and Salud Bautista to submit their respective waivers on the disclosure of their phone records.

Wong, Deguito and PhilRem gave their verbal consent to allow investigators to ook into their phone records between February 5 and 13 to determine who among them are telling the truth.

“But as of last week, none of their lawyers have submitted waivers allowing Globe to furnish us with these information,” Guingona stated.

Aside from the usual spokespersons from RCBC, Philrem and the Anti-Money Laundering council (AMLC), the panel expects to hear the statement of PhilRem’s accountant, who has already resigned .

To date, the Blue Ribbon committee has traced how most of the $81 million came into the country on February 5, 2016, were disbursed to casinos using numerous bank accounts, including allegedly fictitious ones.

However, the committee has yet to determine who received and kept about $17 million delivered by PhilRem in cash.

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1 Comment

  1. The Philippines and its gambling regulators (PAGCOR and First Cagayan) have long been out-of-step with the international community and FATF standards (aka recommendations) relating to AML/CFT.

    The widely held view is that compliance with the FATF is necessary to ensure the jurisdiction is not found to be non-compliant and possibly palced on watch lists or grey lists, which can have an adverse effect on the wider economy.

    In many other non-G20 countries casinos and gaming establishments are facing increased cost of banking because of jurisdictional inadequacies with regard to AML/CFT.

    How will the Philippines respond? The world is watching.