Senate inquiry on $81-M money laundering case resumes May 12
THE Senate blue ribbon committee is set to resume its inquiry into the $81-million money laundering case on May 12 to reconcile conflicting testimonies among the parties involved, the panel’s chair said Monday.
Senator Teofisto Guingona III, committee chairman, said the next hearing would focus on the details of the $17-million, which is part of stolen money that remained unaccounted.
To date, the panel has traced how most of the $81 million entered the country on February 5 and how large amounts have been disbursed to casinos using numerous bank counts, including fictitious accounts.
However, it has yet to determine who received and kept about $17 million delivered by Philrem in cash.
“The Senate inquiry is far from over as additional hearings are still needed to help the committee finish its recommendations for improvements to existing banking and anti-money laundering laws,” Guingona said.
“(The) committee still needs to ferret out the whole truth and to get a clearer and more accurate picture of how $81 million in stolen funds were brought into the country and laundered here, and where all the money went after,” he added.
Until now, the senator noted that lawyers of businessman Kim Wong, former Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation-Jupiter branch manager Maia Deguito, and Philrem officials Salud and Michael Bautista failed to submit their respective waivers on the disclosure of their phone records.
In the previous hearing, Guingona summoned the phone records in question following the conflicting statement of Wong, Deguito and the Bautista couple on who called whom during the deliveries of the laundered funds.
The said resource persons have given conflicting testimonies at the Senate, particularly on $17 million in cash that Philrem claimed to have delivered to a certain Chinese national Weikang Xu at Solaire casino.
“During the April 19 hearing, these three parties – Wong, Deguito, and Philrem – have given the committee their verbal consent to look into their phone records between February 9 and 13. But as of today, none of their lawyers have submitted waivers allowing Globe to furnish us with these information,” Guingona said.
“We are still waiting to have the waivers and the phone records. By the time we resume the probe, we would have already compared who is telling the truth.”
Guingona also said the committee is expecting that the resigned accountant of Philrem would attend the next hearing. (Sunnex)