• Wong pinpoints heist ‘brains’

    18
    ELECTRIFYING Kam Sin Wong alias Kim Wong holds up a document to back his testimony that it was Maia Deguito who helped two Chinese businessmen move the stolen money to RCBC. Left photos show Philrem president Salud Bautista and John Gomes, Bangladesh Ambassador to the Philippines. PHOTOS BY CZEASAR DANCEL

    ELECTRIFYING Kam Sin Wong alias Kim Wong holds up a document to back his testimony that it was Maia Deguito who helped two Chinese businessmen move the stolen money to RCBC. Left photos show Philrem president Salud Bautista and John Gomes, Bangladesh Ambassador to the Philippines. PHOTOS BY CZEASAR DANCEL

    2 Chinese businessmen identified as masterminds of $81M transfer

    TWO Chinese businessmen masterminded the transfer of the $81 million stolen from the Bangladesh Bank to the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC), according to casino junket operator Kam Sin Wong alias Kim Wong.

    In his testimony at the Senate on Tuesday, Wong claimed that the two traders — Shuhua Gao and Zhize Ding — got help from Maia Santos-Deguito, the former bank manager of RCBC Jupiter Branch in Makati City (Metro Manila) and remittance firm PhilRem.

    At the resumption of the Senate blue ribbon hearing on the multimillion-dollar money laundering scandal, Wong denied any involvement in the opening of the four fictitious accounts where the stolen money was deposited as claimed by Deguito in her previous testimony.

    Deguito, when she appeared before senators last week, claimed that it was Wong who instructed her to open dollar accounts for Michael Cruz, Jessie Lagrosas, Alfred Vergara, Enrico Vasquez and businessman William So Go.

    Wong admitted knowing Deguito but only because of her persistence in convincing him to open an account in her branch every time they bump into each other.

    He said he remembered Deguito’s offer when Gao told him that he is interested in opening a dollar account in the Philippines.

    Gao, according to Wong, is a junket operator from Beijing and has been in and out of the country for more than eight years.

    He said he had known Gao since 2007 and that the latter owed him P450 million.

    Wong added that Gao also told him that he and his partner are planning to invest in a casino business in the Philippines because they are having a difficult time maintaining their business in Macau.

    He introduced Gao to Deguito at his office inside Midas Hotel and Casino sometime in May 2015 to discuss the process of opening a dollar account.

    According to Wong, he heard Deguito telling Gao that he needed five persons if he wants to open a company account.

    She assured Gao that she will take care of everything and she will just need $2,500 as initial deposit for the five accounts.

    On February 4, 2016, Wong said, Gao introduced him to his partner Ding. He was told that a huge amount of money will be transmitted to the Philippines through the bank accounts that Gao earlier opened.

    The next day, Wong said he met Gao and Ding inside Solaire Resorts and Casino, where he was told that the funds will be arriving that day.

    According to him, he called Deguito several times to inquire about the money.

    It was around 1 p.m. on that same day when the bank manager informed him that $6 million has been transmitted to the branch.

    The money continued to arrive until it reached $81 million.

    He then asked Deguito if she could bring a portion of the deposits in cash to Solaire to which she agreed.

    Wong said he was informed by Solaire that Philrem transmitted some of the funds for the junket players at 6:30 p.m.

    Then around 7 p.m., Michael Bautista of Philrem arrived at Solaire and handed him P80 million upon the instruction of Deguito.

    Wong said it was already past 8 p.m. when Deguito arrived at Solaire to deliver another P20 million cash.

    The junket operator even showed a photo of Deguito’s vehicle inside the parking lot of the casino on February 5.

    Wong said that apart from the P100 million cash he got on February 5, he also collected P300 million and $5 million cash from Bautista from February 10 to 14.

    “Si Maia ang nagpeke ng sinasabing limang bank accounts. Si Maia ang gumawa ng lahat ng paraan para mailabas ang pera sa banko [It was Maia who created the five fictitious bank accounts. It was Maia who released the money from the bank],” he added.

    RCBC cleared
    Wong cleared RCBC president Lorenzo Tan of any involvement in the controversy, dismissing Deguito’s allegations that the RCBC head knew of the transaction.

    He said there was never an instance when Tan asked Deguito to take care of him.

    Deguito had told senators that it was the RCBC president who instructed her during a birthday party of a common friend, to “take care” of Wong.

    “Impossible … that never happened,” Wong told the blue ribbon committee.

    Francis Lim, Tan’s counsel, said Wong’s statement proves Deguito’s attempt to muddle the issue by implicating her boss.

    He added that Deguito is trying to put the blame on Tan and “obscure her role as a principal player.”

    “It vindicates our position that Ms. Deguito has maliciously dragged Mr. Tan into the fray in a shrewd design to muddle the issues before the Senate and confuse the public to obscure her role as a principal player in this money-laundering scheme,” Lim noted.

    Of the $81 million that entered RCBC last month, $63 million was transferred to Midas and Solaire while the remaining $17 million, according to Wong, is still with Philrem.

    But Philrem officials disputed his claim.

    Wong said the funds received by the casinos were converted into dead chips to be used by the junket players.

    Dead chips cannot be exchanged for cash.

    So far, only P40 million of the P550 million that entered Midas remains.

    Deguito was not able to attend the hearing on Tuesday because of health problems.

    Former senator Rene Saguisag, co-counsel for Deguito, asked the Senate panel for a weeklong respite.

    He assured the senators that the bank manager will continue cooperating with the lawmakers.

    Saguisag himself asked that he be excused early because he was just released from the hospital.

    The former senator was asked by Deguito’s camp over the weekend to act as co-counsel and consultant because Ferdinand Topacio was not able to attend the proceedings.

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    18 Comments

    1. Where are the 2 masterminds? They should be put to jail along with Deguito. Is she even behind bars already? She should be, because clearly she is in cahoots with whoever is really behind all these. As bank manager sh has all the power to stop shady transactions, she also has all the power to make the heist. I read somewhere that bank managers can transact up to 400 million with out the involvement of those in higher positions as her.

    2. patty atienza on

      It looks like this is the actual work of Kim Wong… For all we know, the 2 Chinese sounding names he mentioned are fictitious. Looks like he masterminded all these with the help of his connections. Imagine, before he came out, all those “witnesses,” Philrem, RCBC, etc. all claimed they were not too familiar with him and all orders came from a mere branch manager, Deguito. When he appeared in the senate, suddenly, all of them said that they had, at one time or even several times met Wong. The latter was even transacting his business at the Philrem owner’s residence! And the bank president made it appear that the branch manager is that powerful to approve such a questionable transaction at her level? Who believes that?

      • Dat kim wong is a rascal n bigtime crook.he was implicated in d 2001 senates drug investigation.now none of those senators who were there in 2001 pretends not to know him.
        The 2chinese names implicated by wong are just fictitious naman
        .

    3. This is way beyond RCBC, looks like there is a bigger syndicate behind this, and poor bank was dragged into the mess because of the greedy branch manager. It appears that the bank is cooperative of the investigation and never failed to miss any hearings. Where is Maia Deguito now? When will they interrogate the underling Angela Torres? Did the senators even wondered who the hackers could be? Kim Wong said he will tell-all, and he dragged names we just heard of. He never blinks whenever he gives his statements. What happened to Maia’s tell-all, did we get any useful info from her? If she’s not hiding something, why is she scared to spill the beans? It could be because it will expose her connivance with Torres. And oh, how can she afford her lawyers? How much do bank branch managers make nowadays?

    4. It seems everyone involve is clean..the next thing you will know is that the poor SG is to blame by simple negligent, he let the money leave the bank doors withour checking the proper document. And that will absolve RCBC of any participation in this heist.

    5. Its a crazy and unsafe process when the Senate sets itself up as a court of law. This whole business should be handled by the police and the courts in order to determine who is guilty of what.

    6. Some controversial if not doubtful and incomplete statement by Wong, He said, this Gao wanted to open “an account in the Philippine” then was introduced to Dequito, who then suggested to create 5 fictitious account… Why did Dequito suggested 5 accounts if Gao only wanted an account?

      The senate should be careful in receiving statements and not to be easily misled. They should be very careful with the Judas kiss.

      • Actually, Wong muddled the whole investigation. The committee should be careful in this. They should check the money laundering machinery deeply entrenched in our banking system. Deguito is just a cog in this machine. The operators are the big Chinese players like Tan, Go, Wong etc.

      • simple. because deguito told gao best beneficiary is a corporation. the corp. will still be formwd. a corporation needs 5 incorporators… kaya sabi ni wong nagreklamo pa si gao dahil complicado. ani ni deguito, ako na bahala. yun yon.

    7. Who is trying to muddle the facts? Really? Francis Lim Tan is a lousy boss if he really do not know anything about what his subordinates under him is cooking. Maybe Kim Wong is trying to save Francis Tan for saying Tan has nothing to do with it.

    8. It is clear these Three Chinese Stooges Kim Wong, Wilson So Go, and RCBC Pres Lorenzo Tan are in concerted tune to pin the poor Branch Manager as the most culpable of pulling off this SCANDALOUS HEIST. Thus, absolving themselves of any wrongdoing. The glaring factual evidences points to a Higher Conspiracy above the branch manager’s level to pull this off all by herself. These Stooges are expecting a Whopping Windfall of $1 BILLION but ended up with $81MILLION.
      Sri Lanka puĺled a stop to a $20M portion of the loot and detained 6 individuals involved…here in the Land of the Crooks Philippines, the only Christian and God-loving country in all of ASIA…HIPOCRISY AND COVER UP IS THE NAME OF THE BLAME GAME…

      • Deguito is equalkly guilty with those big names involved. Tan, Lim, Go, Wong. Dapat tanggalan ang mga yan ng citizenship. Pag Pinoy ang nagnakaw, kahit isang lumang bisikleta, bugbug sarado sa barangay, kalaboso pa. Ang mga intsik, bilyon ang ninanakaw, binibigyan pa ng importansya sa senado. Naku.

      • arnel amador on

        i read from above “these three chinese stooges” – i’m not sure if these 3 stooges are “filipino” christians….parang “chinese” ang nabasa ko. pakitama na rin kung mali ako…

    9. ernie del rosario on

      For the people to understand the matter easily, I suggest that the Senate panel hearing this case come up with an infographics showing the step by step flow of the USD 81 million from where it originated to where it broke up into many pieces.

    10. Lawrence C. See on

      1) The president of the bank is the highest ranking account officer of the bank
      2) As account officer, his job is to rub elbows with rich dudes and make them feel good so that they eventually put their money in the bank
      3) Whenever the bank president meets an underling in the bank client’s presence, it is automatic that he will tell the underling to take good care of the client to make the client feel good with such a statement
      4) If the bank president gives the same line to every underling in front of every client, is there anything special about the particular client? None!
      5) Whatever she imagined the Bank President said to her is just that, a normal occurence when you happen to be in front of him and a client.