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5 Philippines’ RCBC executives charged in $81m Bangladesh Bank heist incident

  • Published at 12:09 am May 23rd, 2019
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RCBC Jupiter Branch Manager Maia Santos-Deguito was found guilty of seven counts of violation of the Anti-Money Laundering Act

Five executives of Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) in the Philippines have been charged with money laundering in connection with the $81 million cyber heist at Bangladesh Bank three years ago.

The five executives who are facing charges are RCBC Retail Banking Group Treasurer Raul Victor Tan, National Sales Director for Retail Banking Ismael Reyes, Regional Sales Director Brigitte Capiña, Customer Service head for its Jupiter business centre Romualdo Agarrado, and senior customer relations officer Angela Ruth Torres, reports Philippine News Agency.

In a 10-page resolution approved by Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon, dated May 10, the Philippine Department of Justice (DOJ) said the officers allowed the transactions of the Bangladesh Bank heist despite evident red flags.

The DOJ also denied motions for reconsideration from the five respondents.

The resolution cited the "willful blindness doctrine," defined as "the deliberate avoidance or knowledge of a crime, especially by failing to make a reasonable inquiry about suspected wrongdoing, despite being aware that it is highly probable."

"There is no better way to describe the acts of the respondents than this. With the notices received on the possible fraudulent transfer of huge sums of money, the respondents should have conducted an investigation," the resolution read.

"By the very nature of their work in handling millions of pesos in daily transactions, the degree of responsibility, care, and trustworthiness expected of bank employees and officials are greater than those of ordinary clerks and employees," it added. "Their complacent attitude in handling the suspicious remittances is unacceptable and rocked the integrity of our banking system."

Earlier, RCBC Jupiter Branch Manager Maia Santos-Deguito was found guilty of seven counts of violation of the Anti-Money Laundering Act.

Makati RTC Branch 149 Judge Cesar Untalan imposed a penalty of up to seven years imprisonment for each count, and also said Deguito was required to pay not more than 200% of the value of the laundered amount, or almost $110 million.