Wong surrenders $4.6M

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MONEY LOST, MONEY GAINED Kim Wong’s lawyer Inocencio Ferrer shows to media the acknowledgment receipt issued by the Anti-Money Laundering Council after returning $4.63 million. PHOTO BY CZEAZAR DANCEL

MONEY LOST, MONEY GAINED Kim Wong’s lawyer Inocencio Ferrer shows to media the acknowledgment receipt issued by the Anti-Money Laundering Council after returning $4.63 million. PHOTO BY CZEAZAR DANCEL

JUNKET operator Kam Sin Wong, also known as Kim Wong, on Thursday surrendered to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) $4.63 million, part of the $81 million stolen by hackers from the Bangladesh Bank.

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Wong, represented by his legal counsel Inocencio Ferrer Jr., turned over the money to AMLC member and Insurance Commissioner Emmanuel Dooc, Executive Director Julia Abad and officials of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

The council said the fund will be placed in the BSP vault for safekeeping.

Bangladesh Central Bank representative and Ambassador to the Philippines John Gomes witnessed the turnover.

The money—46 bundles of $100 denominated notes and some loose bills—was placed in a large purple trolley bag.

On Thursday morning, Ferrer said Wong asked him to visit the AMLC to inform the council that he is officially turning over the $4.63 million.

“Today, Mr. Kim Wong kept his promise to the Senate blue ribbon committee to return the $4.63 million in his casino to the AMLC for later transmittal to the Bangladesh Central Bank,” the lawyer added.

He said he approached the AMLC officials that morning unannounced to ask about arrangements for the fund transfer.

“They did not know that I was coming today. I came over, and Executive Director Abad, with… officials of the BSP, listened to my request early [Thursday] morning and prepared all the security arrangements,” Ferrer added.

From left, Second Secretary and Head of Chancery of the Bangladesh Embassy Manila Probash Lamarong, Anti-Money Laundering Council Secretariat Executive Director Julia Bacay-Abad, AMLC Member and Insurance Commissioner Emmanuel Dooc, and BSP Deputy Governor Vicente Aquino look at the money turned over by Inocencio Ferrer, Jr., legal counsel of Kim Wong (second from right). PHOTO FROM AMLC

From left, Second Secretary and Head of Chancery of the Bangladesh Embassy Manila Probash Lamarong, Anti-Money Laundering Council Secretariat Executive Director Julia Bacay-Abad, AMLC Member and Insurance Commissioner Emmanuel Dooc, and BSP Deputy Governor Vicente Aquino look at the money turned over by Inocencio Ferrer, Jr., legal counsel of Kim Wong (second from right). PHOTO FROM AMLC

“The stature of the Philippines in the world community has been restored today, with the fund returned [without the courts’ intervention],” he said.

When he appeared at the Senate on Tuesday, Wong promised to return the money that was deposited with the Solaire Resort and Casino in Manila.

The amount was part of the $63 million that went to Solaire and Midas Hotel and Casino.

In his testimony, Wong admitted that he got P100 million in cash on February 5 and an additional P300 million and $5 million from February 10 to 14.

He, however, maintained that he did not know that the money was stolen.

Draft bill
Also on Thursday, the AMLC said it is completing a draft bill that will relax the decades-old bank secrecy law to combat money laundering in the country.

Dooc said the AMLC is ready to submit the draft bill to Congress “because the Senate blue ribbon committee has been harping on it.”

“We have to liberalize or relax the bank secrecy law because now it is clearly shown it is a deterrent or an obstacle in addressing money laundering offenses,” he told reporters.

“For instance, you have heard the bank secrecy law being invoked by resource persons invited by the Senate committee that frustrate the senators who are conducting the probe but most of all the public who wants to get to the bottom of this thing, including us, AMLC,” Dooc said, referring to the Senate hearing on the $81-million money-laundering scandal.

The draft bill seeks to shorten the reporting period for suspicious transactions from 10 days to five days.

“Because, remember, in this particular case, the deposit was received February 5 and plus 10 days, the funds were already withdrawn even before the reports were made,” Dooc said.

He added that the five days reporting period is doable with the help of technology.

“ You can use e-mail, and text messages are acceptable. We don’t need that 10-day period,” Dooc pointed out.

The commissioner said President Benigno Aquino 3rd has committed to certify the draft bill as urgent but the measure will be deliberated on during the 17th Congress.

Dooc added that the bill will strengthen the AMLC’s power to freeze accounts.

“I am very sure that we can come to an agreement with the massive support that we are now getting and the common interest from common stakeholders to fully strengthen the anti-money laundering unit,” he said.

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5 Comments

  1. francis carlos on

    Wow! What a great accomplishment for AMLC and Julia Abad! Same with the Binays and Marcoses. The Binays are the makers of what Makati is today! And BongBong Marcos for the Philippines! We should review our morality issues here!

  2. Cassandra Harvey on

    Ang laki ng paniwala ko na yang Wong na yan ang mastermind ng nakawan sa Bangladesh. Ngaung nagkabulgaran na, ipinasa ña to a certain Gao ang kanyang devil act. Kunyari nagsoli ng part ng money eh dapat jan patahimikin na. Maliban sa pagiging junket ñan, eh, no.1 drug lord yan. Tikom lang ang bibig ng mga politico kac no.1 contributor yan sa mga election campaigns.

  3. Romeo Tuazon on

    Eddy I agreed 100%. This is another mockery to our justice system. No one ordered the freeze of Wong’s assets, no one questioned him what happened to the rest of the money. How about audit his books and lock down his casino ang business establishment and do not allow him to leave the country until everything is recovered. Or is this another circus hearing.

  4. Are we supposed to be impressed that Wong turned over 4.6 million in stolen money ?

    Why did some of the stolen money end up with him in the first place ?

    Is he in the habit of receiving 5 million dollars that is not his ?

    Why are the casinos still open ? The casinos should be seized by the government for being the laundering site of the stolen money.

    Guess we get to watch another couple of weeks of the senate clown committee playing at being investigators while everyone gets away.

  5. That Kim Wong is a B.S. If your story is accurate that he got 100 million and 300 million pesos, that is roughly $8.5 million plus another in dollar amount of $5 million, it brings to a total of almost $14 million. If he return $4.63 million, he still got about $10 million in his pocket. Not bad for a money he earned without a sweat. The Senate should account to him the rest of his share of the loot. The Senators invesigating this scam, maybe with the exception of Serge Osmena and Ralph Recto, does not know what they are talking about.