Ex-RCBC manager Deguito appeals money laundering conviction

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 28 2019 03:32 PM

RCBC Jupiter Branch manager Maia Deguito answers questions during a Senate investigation in 2016 on the $81M Bangladesh central bank heist. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File photo

MANILA -- Former RCBC bank manager Maia Santos Deguito asked a local court to reverse conviction for money laundering in connection with the $81-million cyber heist on Bangladesh's central bank 3 years ago.

Deguito asked the Makati Regional Trial Court to "set aside" its decision last Jan. 10 and acquit her in related cases. Her lawyers said the "wrong penalty" was imposed upon her.

The banker said the court misunderstood the meaning of money laundering offense under the law and failed to appreciate the facts and the evidence. She said the element of knowledge was "not proven, but was merely presumed" and she "did not facilitate the transactions."

Deguito was sentenced to 4 to 7 years in prison for each of the 8 counts of money laundering, over a year after she was indicted by state prosecutors. She was fined a total of $109 million.

She was the manager of the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp branch where a portion of the $81 million that was stolen by unknown hackers from the Bangladesh Bank was deposited in accounts under fictitious names, based on the Department of Justice investigation.

- report from Dexter Ganibe, ABS-CBN News