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Dhaka Tribune

'Two Chinese nationals brought $81m to Philippines'

Update : 31 Mar 2016, 03:36 PM
Two Chinese businessmen had allegedly brought the $81 million stolen funds from Bangladesh Bank into the Philippine financial system, junket operator Kim Wong, also known as Kam Sin Wong, told a Senate hearing on Tuesday.
Wong identified the two as Shuhua Gao and Ding Zhize during the ongoing investigation of the Senate blue ribbon committee, reports
“Two foreigners brought the $81 million into the country. One of them has been in and out of the Philippines and is a known junket agent and high roller."
"To help the investigators, I will put their names in a sealed envelope along with a copy of their passport and will submit it to the committee,” he said reading from the prepared statement. But on Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile’s prodding, Wong identified Gao and Ding, who brought in the funds through Rizal Commercial Banking Corp (RCBC).> Click here to read more stories on Bangladesh Bank heistWong said Gao has been a junket agent for almost eight years now, while Ding, a businessman from Macau, was introduced to him by Gao. Wong said Gao borrowed P450 million from him after incurring big losses at a casino in Solaire. At that time, he said, the former branch manager of RCBC-Jupiter in Makati City, Maia Santos-Deguito, had been asking him to open an account in her branch. He then referred Gao to Deguito. Wong said he and Gao met with Deguito in his office at the Midas Hotel sometime in May 2015. Wong said Gao wanted to open a dollar account but the branch manager said they needed five persons to open an account for a company. “Gao said that we would probably find it difficult to open an account. Maia told us that she would take care of it. I was in a hurry, and she offered to assist us,” Wong said. After two or three days, Wong said Deguito called asking for $2,500 to open the five dollar accounts. On February 4 this year, Wong said Gao told him that he and Ding would close their casino in Macau and would just invest here in Manila. On February 5, Wong said he met both Gao and Ding at the Solaire hotel and the two had told him to call Deguito to check on the five accounts. After repeated calls, Wong said Deguito called again around 1pm and informed them about the tranches of funds that started to come into the accounts, totaling $81 million. Wong said he then asked Deguito if she could bring the money to the hotel. Around 7pm on the same day, Wong said Michael Bautista of Philrem Service Corporation arrived with P80 million supposedly upon Deguito’s request. “Maia was supposed to bring the remaining P20 million. She then arrived,” he said Aside from the P100 million cash that was delivered to the hotel, Wong said he also collected a total of P300 million and $5 million cash from Bautista’s house. He said he picked up the first P100 million cash and $3 million cash from Bautista’s house last February 9, another P100 million and $2 million cash on February 10, and another P100 million on February 14. In his opening statement, Wong accused Deguito of forging the documents of the bank's five account holders used to receive and withdraw the stolen funds. “It was also Maia who pursued all means to release the money from the bank,” Wong said. Of the total $81 million stolen funds that were deposited and withdrawn from the RCBC branch of Deguito, Wong said about $63 million went to Midas and Solaire casinos. “The balance of more or less $17 million, as far as I know, is with Philrem,” he said.
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