DOJ: AMLC complaints on money laundering will be consolidated

anti-laundering
anti-laundering

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday said it will consolidate the three complaints filed by Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) against those linked to the transfer of $80.9-million from the Bangladesh Bank to the country.

Prosecutor General Claro Arellano, head of the National Prosecution Service (NPS) said the case against remittance firm Philrem Service Corp. will be consolidated to the first two complaints against Kam Sin Wong or Kim Wong and Weikang Xu and former Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) Branch Manager Maia Santos-Deguito.

“Yes, the latest AMLC complaint will also undergo preliminary investigation and will be consolidated to the first two related cases (against Deguito and Wong),” the DOJ official said in a text message.

He said Assistant State Prosecutor Gilmarie Fe Pacamara will also handle the complaint against officials of Philrem namely Salud Bautista, President; Michael “Concon” Bautista, Chairman of the Board and Treasurer and Anthony Pelejo, PhilRem’s Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Officer.

Arellano said they will all be required to submit their counter-affidavit.

Philrem officials are facing a complaint for violation of the Anti-Money Laundering Act specifically Sections 4(a), (b) and (f) referring to money laundering acts including transacting the monetary instrument or property, converts, transfers, disposes of, moves, acquires, possesses or uses said monetary instrument or property and performs, or fails to perform, any act as a result of which he or she facilitated the money laundering offense.

Based on the investigation conducted by AMLC, the stolen funds were credited to the fictitious bank accounts of Michael Cruz, Jessie Christopher Lagrosas, Alfred Vergara and Enrico Vasquez, which were all opened on May 15, 2015 at RCBC branch on Jupiter Street, Makati.

Also, AMLC said the dollar and peso accounts under the name of “William So Go” doing business as Centurytex Trading which were opened February 5, 2016 and July 30, 2014, respectively, were also fictitious.

Of the stolen funds, $65, 668,664.37, which was withdrawn from the accounts of Cruz, Lagrosas, Vergara and Vasquez, was transferred to Go and eventually to Philrem.

According to AMLC, of the $65-million that was transferred to Go, $13-million was transferred to the RCBC account of Abba Currency Exchange Inc. (Abba) on Feb. 9, 2016. On the same date, $3,230,000.00 was transferred from the Abba account to the RCBC account of Beacon Currency Exchange Inc. (Beacon).

On Feb. 5, 9 and 10, 2016, the balance of $52,668,664.37 was transferred from the RCBC account of Go to the RCBC-Unimart Greenhills account of Philrem. At the same time, the $15-million from Vasquez’ account was also transferred to Philrem’s account.

Both Abba and Beacon also transferred a total of $13-million to PhilRem’s RCBC account in Pasig.

AMLC said Pelejo submitted a Suspicious Transaction Report (STR) to AMLC. Under the STR, Philrem said the transactions made were upon the instructions of “Go” but during the senate investigation, Salud said the transactions were made upon the instructions of Deguito.

AMLC said it is highly irregular that Philrem would deal with Deguito and not the owner of the “Go” account.

Deguito already denied the allegations against her in a counter-affidavit submitted early this month.

Wong, meanwhile, has yet to answer the case filed against him by AMLC while Xu has not appeared before the DOJ.

Wong allegedly received $21.6-million of the the laundered funds which he already turned over to the government while Xu allegedly received $59.2 million.

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