RCBC branch manager sued for money laundering

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 14 2016 09:06 PM | Updated as of Mar 14 2016 11:18 PM

AMLC says Deguito approved opening of bank accounts based on fake documents

MANILA - Money-laundering charges have been filed against Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) bank branch manager Maia Santos Deguito.

This is in relation to the $80,884,641.63 stolen by hackers from the Bangladesh Bank and funneled into the country for laundering. 

The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) itself filed the charges against Deguito and others involved in what is billed as the largest money-laundering scheme in the country.

The AMLC said Deguito violated the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA), the law that protects the Philippines from the entry and circulation of funds derived from illegal activities.

In a 9-page complaint-affidavit filed by the AMLC Compliance and Investigation Group before the Department of Justice (DOJ) last Friday exclusively obtained by ABS-CBN News, also named as respondents are Michael Francisco Cruz, Jessie Christopher Lagrosas, Alfred Santos Vergara, and Enrico Teodoro Vasquez -- to whom the bank accounts opened for the transaction were named after.

The complaint said these names may just be aliases.

The AMLC said Deguito approved the opening of the subject bank accounts on May 15, 2015 based on fictitious identity documents.

"Respondent's (Deguito) actions clearly amount to money laundering... She allowed the opening of the subject bank accounts on 15 May 2015 based on identity documents that were verified to be fictitious," the complaint said.

"Moreover, verification on the employment offices declared by the four John Does during the account opening revealed that there were no 'Cruz', et al., that were connected therewith," it added.

The AMLC said that aside from the fact that Deguito failed to perform her responsibility of verifying the identities of Cruz et al within 9 months from the time the accounts were opened, she allowed them to withdraw the stolen money from Bangladesh Bank.

The council said it wasn't possible for Deguito to not have known that the funds were stolen from Bangladesh Bank, since a request for "stop payment" was already made.

Still, she allowed the transactions.

The AMLC said Cruz and the other respondents should be charged in court for transacting the subject stolen funds, while Deguito should be indicted for "facilitating the money laundering activity. "

The complaint was filed before Deguito was offloaded from a Japan-bound flight last Friday. 

Her camp said she will answer the allegations during the Senate hearing into the controversy on Tuesday.

Deguito also insisted that her actions were cleared by RCBC.  

Laundering illegal funds to make it appear that they are from legitimate sources is a crime under the AMLA. - with ANC