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Money from emptied accounts being tracked


Maj. Gen. Carlos F. Garcia might have moved the money from his closed bank accounts to banks in Switzerland or the Cayman Islands, Justice Secretary Raul M. Gonzalez said Wednesday.

Gonzalez said his department will check the foreign bank accounts of Garcia on learning that he closed 39 accounts in Allied Bank and United Coconut Planters Bank before the Court of Appeals froze his assets.

In an interview Gonzalez said the Department of Justice will ask the Anti­money Laundering Council (AMLC) to trace the other accounts of the general, his wife, Clarita, and his children Ian Carl, Juan Paolo and Timothy Mark.

Gonzalez said it is possible the money that the Garcias withdrew from the local banks was transferred to foreign accounts.

“It can be wired and it is possible that the money was immediately transferred,” he said.

The justice department will ask the AMLC and the Department of Foreign Affairs to inform the countries where Garcia could have taken his money.

“First the Antimoney Laundering Council will check his other bank accounts. That’s possible but the process may take longer,” Gonzalez said.

He cited the case of the Marcoses, who stashed their illegal wealth in Swiss accounts.

There were also the cases of former justice secretary Hernando Perez and former senator Panfilo Lacson, who their critics accused of owning accounts in Hong Kong and the United States.

Authorities found a huge discrepancy between the P1,253,413.81 Garcia declared in his Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth for 2003 and the P185,538,963.14 he and his family transacted from 2003 and 2004.

Last week the Court of Appeals issued a freeze order on the bank accounts and other properties of the general at the request of the Office of the Solicitor General, which cited probable cause that the money and properties in the accounts came from unlawful activities.

The order covered the accounts of the Garcia family in the Land Bank of the Philippines in Greenhills and Camp Aguinaldo branches, Allied Banking Corp., AFP Savings and Loan Association, Banco de Oro Universal Bank, Bank of Philippine Islands, United Coconut Planters Bank, Planters Development Bank.

His eight vehicles were impounded. The government requested the US to put his three real properties in New York and Ohio on hold.

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