A branch manager of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp (RCBC) has been indicted in the Philippines over the cyber heist of $81 million from Bangladesh Bank in 2016.
On August 30, eight counts of violation under the Anti-Money Laundering Act were filed by the Department of Justice against Maia Deguito. They have been raffled off to four branches of the Makati City Regional Trial Court.
In February 2016, Deguito allegedly facilitated the transfer of the laundered money from Bangladesh Bank to different accounts held at the RCBC branch on Jupiter Street in Makati City.
According to the criminal indictments, four of these payment instructions were cleared and credited to savings accounts held under four fictitious names: Michael Francisco Cruz, Jessie Christopher Lagrosas, Alfred Santos Vergara, and Enrico Teodoro Vasquez.
From these accounts, the money was later allegedly consolidated into single US dollar account in the name of Filipino-Chinese businessman William Go. Later the money was withdrawn fast, converted into peso and deposited in at least three casinos.
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According to the DOJ, the accused helped one another in the withdrawal of $14,312,185.54 from William Go’s “irregular account”. The DOJ reported that the $14m was a part of the of the stolen $81m and that the ‘Know Your Customer’ (KYC) procedure was not followed.
Under the KYC, taking notes and verification of identification of customers by banks are mandated by law.
The DOJ said the accused proceeded with the transactions in the full knowledge that they were violating the Electronic Commerce Act and/or the Information and Communication Technology Act, the penal law of Bangladesh.
For each count of money laundering for each of the accused, the court set the bail at Philippine Peso 100,000.
The DOJ earlier found probable cause to charge the owners of the remittance firm Philrem Service Corporation (Philrem) - spouses Salud Bautista and Michael “Concon” Bautista - for violations of the anti-money laundering law. It said PhilRem Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Officer Anthony Pelejo could also be charged.
The names of the Bautistas and Pelejo were not in the criminal information filed with the Makati court.
It has not been confirmed by the DOJ whether the complaints against the Philrem officials were junked on the basis of a motion for reconsideration.