DOJ sets to grill RCBC on money laundering case

The Department of Justice (DOJ) sets on April 19 the preliminary investigation on the $81 million money laundering scheme involving the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) that rocked the banking industry in the country.

This, as Assistant State Prosecutor Gilmari Fe Pacamara, disclosed that a subpoena was issued to Maia Santos Deguito, RCBC Jupiter Makati branch manager, along with four others to appear for the preliminary investigation of the case tentatively set on April 19.

Pacarama who was designated by Prosecutor General Claro Arellano to handle the case said Deguito would also be required to submit her counter-affidavit.
The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) earlier filed money laundering complaint against Deguito in connection with the laundering scheme involving $81 million funds hacked from Bangladesh Bank.

Aside from Deguito, same charges were also filed against four John Does allegedly hiding under the fictitious names Michael Francisco Cruz, Jessie Christopher Lagrosas, Alfred Santos Vergara, and Enrico Teodoro Vasquez.

AMLC, in its complaint, accused Deguito of facilitating the transfer of the laundered money from Bangladesh to multiple accounts under four fictitious names-Cruz, Lagrosas, Vergara and Vasquez- at the RCBC branch on Jupiter Street, Makati City last February.

AMLC added that from the said multiple accounts, the money was then allegedly consolidated into a single US dollar account in the name of Filipino-Chinese businessman William Go.
The amount was then hastily withdrawn, converted into pesos, and transferred to other banks. Go, who denied ownership of the account was not included in the complaint.

In the same complaint, fault was pinned on Deguito saying that as the branch manager, she allowed the opening of the said accounts of the respondents last year based on “documents that were verified to be fictitious” and that she even allowed respondents John Does to withdraw money stolen from the Bangladesh Bank.

The AMLC also pointed out that at the time the withdrawals took place, Deguito already knew that the money was stolen from BB since there was already a stop payment request. Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, Dequito’s counsel, however expressed belief that his client could have been the fall guy in the money laundering case, claiming that she could not have pulled it off without the knowledge of her superiors, possibly including RCBC president Lorenzo Tan. Tan on the other hand put the blame on Dequito. (Miko Arnaldo)

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