Manila, Philippines (BBN) – Philippines senate blue ribbon committee has started preparations to probe into alleged $81million laundered from the central bank of Bangladesh.

As part of the preparations, the Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations of the Senate of the Philippines, popularly known as the Blue Ribbon Committee, has summoned the principal characters in the alleged laundering of $81 million stolen from the US account of the Bangladesh Bank (BB).

Summoned to the inquiry that opens on Tuesday are Lorenzo Tan, president and CEO of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC), and Maia Santos-Deguito, manager of RCBC’s branch on Jupiter Street in Makati City where the $81 million was transferred by unknown computer hackers who stole the money from the account of Bangladesh Bank, the central bank of Bangladesh, in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in early February, according to the Inquirer, a local newspaper, report.

Money laundering is the process by which money obtained from crime is cleaned to make it appear as derived from legal activities so that banks and other financial institutions will accept it.

Also summoned to appear at the hearing are officials of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), RCBC account holders who allegedly got the “dirty” money, and officials of casinos where $46 million was “integrated” or cleaned up, emerging as winnings.

An AMLC investigation into the entry of the large amount in foreign currency into the Philippine financial system led to the discovery of the operation and to freeze orders from the Court of Appeals.
According to the investigation, Deguito facilitated the transfer of the $81 million to five accounts in her branch.

But Deguito countered that Tan instructed her to allow the transfer of the $81 million to the five accounts.

Tan called Deguito’s claim an “outright lie.”
Also summoned to the Senate inquiry is RCBC Compliance Unit head Fe Salmatin.

William So Go, one of the account holders, was also summoned, along with other account holders Michael Francisco Cruz, Jessie Christopher Lagrosas, Alfred Santos Vergara, Enrico Vasquez and Kam Sin Wong (Kim Wong).

The other resource persons are Philippine National Bank president Reynaldo Maclang; East West Bank president Antonio Moncupa Jr.; Banco de Oro president Nestor Tan; Philrem Service Corp. president Salud Bautista; Solaire Resort and Casino Manila president Thomas Arasi; Leisure and Resorts World Corp./Midas Hotel and Casino chair Reynaldo Bantug; Melco Crown Philippines/City of Dreams Casino chair Clarence Chung; Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. chair Cristino Naguiat; AMLC Chair and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando Tetangco Jr.; Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Teresita Herbosa; Insurance Commission Commissioner Emmanuel Dooc; and AMLC Secretariat Executive Director Julia Bacay-Abad.
Sen. Teofisto Guingona III will preside over the inquiry.

BBN/SSR/AD