PH must 'lighten' bank secrecy law to fight dirty money: Osmeña


Posted at Jan 10 2019 01:02 PM

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MANILA – Loosening the country's bank secrecy law will help government's crackdown on money laundering, according to a former lawmaker who led an investigation into the $81-million cyber heist on Bangladesh Bank.

A former Rizal Commercial Banking Corp branch manager linked to the 2016 caper, Maia Santos Deguito, was convicted of money laundering on Thursday.

"We have the strictest bank secrecy act in the world. We have to lighten that up," said former Sen. Sergio Osmeña III.

Osmeña, who is seeking to reclaim his Senate seat in the May elections, authored the Anti-Money Laundering Law. 

"But unfortunately, Congress won’t pass the law amending the bank secrecy act so that it’s really difficult to find somebody guilty,” he added.

Deguito's upcoming appeal to reverse her conviction may not have a "fighting chance" since she is accused of allowing the opening of bank accounts under fictitious names. She has denied wrongdoing.