MANILA - The president of Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), Lorenzo Tan, has sued former RCBC Jupiter branch manager Maia Deguito and her lawyer Ferdinand Topacio for libel and false testimony.
Tan said Deguito's allegations against him were mere assumptions as he did not authorize the transactions linked to the $81 million money laundering scam.
READ: $81M heist: The money trail
He said that Deguito and her counsel, "with deliberate intent, conjured together to make public imputations of money laundering offenses and dishonorable conduct against him, despite the blatant admission of Deguito that she directly handled the money laundering transactions."
"All of these [imputations] were products of mere assumptions made by respondent [Deguito] that I oversaw and thus authorized the questioned transactions. Her imagination had simply gone beyond what was real or actual, and is farthest from the truth," Tan alleged in his complaint.
Tan added that Deguito's accusations were a mere ploy to defend herself from the various criminal complaints against her.
Tan has taken an indefinite leave of absence amid the investigation on the money laundering scandal.
"To clear my name, I have taken a voluntary leave just to avoid any perception of undue influence on my part in the on-going internal investigation by RCBC on the matter...Indeed, the accusations by Deguito against me had demeaned me," he said.
RCBC has earlier filed criminal charges against Deguito and senior customer relationship officer Angela Torres for charges of falsification of commercial documents.
Last week, Deguito maintained her innocence in the $81-million heist, saying she became an ''unwitting scapegoat'' in the elaborate plan to steal millions of dollars from the account of Bangladesh Bank in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
READ: Deguito: I'm an 'unwitting scapegoat' in heist
Deguito said her mistake was that she trusted Tan and that she "relied on the fact that Mr. Tan could not have been unaware of a transaction that has been labeled the biggest bank heist in the history of the world."
"I am but a pawn in a high-stake chess game played by giants," she said.