Bangladesh Bank heist: Aguirre is 'ninong' to Kim Wong, says Ang

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 02 2017 10:44 AM | Updated as of May 02 2017 07:06 PM

Bangladesh Bank heist: Aguirre is 'ninong' to Kim Wong, says Ang 1
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre and Gaming operator Charlie "Atong" Ang. File/Composite

NINONG: Gaming operator Charlie "Atong" Ang on Tuesday linked Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre to the $81-million Bangladesh Bank heist, saying the justice chief acted as a "protector" to one of the tycoons linked to the crime.

Speaking to radio DZMM, Ang said Aguirre is a "ninong" or protector of the family of casino junket operator Kim Wong, who has admitted to having received $35 million of the funds stolen from the Bangladesh Central Bank in February 2016.

"Kayo Aguirre, ikaw ang ninong ng anak ni Kim Wong. Kayo ang nagsimula niyan. Mag-kumpare iyan. Magkasama sila," Ang said.

For his part, Aguirre denied the allegations and said he is ready to face any investigation.

"Kung mayroong ebidensya itong si Atong, dapat magdemanda na agad siya at humingi siya ng kahit anong investigation, pwede kong harapin siya," he said in a separate DZMM interview.

BANGLADESH BANK HEIST

Bangladesh Bank heist: Aguirre is 'ninong' to Kim Wong, says Ang 2
Chinese businessman Kam Sin Wong, also known as Kim Wong, shows a photo of the Php100 million delivered to Solaire Resorts and Casino during the Senate hearing on the $81 million money laundering scheme. Wong admitted coursing some of the money to the RCBC Jupiter branch. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN New

Hackers reportedly from China transferred $81 million from Bangladesh central bank’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to 4 accounts at a branch of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) in Makati.

The money was quickly withdrawn and later disappeared in the huge casino industry in the country.

Wong admitted in a Senate hearing that $35 million of the funds were remitted to him. He returned only $15 million, saying that the rest of the money ended up with other casino personalities.

Philippine investigators have filed criminal charges against several individuals and a remittance company for money laundering in connection with the heist at the country's Department of Justice (DOJ).

Bangladesh Bank heist: Aguirre is 'ninong' to Kim Wong, says Ang 3
Former RCBC bank manager Maia Santos-Deguito at a Senate hearing on the bank heist. File Photo

Ang noted that Aguirre excluded Wong from the filing of cases, which covered sacked RCBC manager Maya Deguito and Philrem, the foreign exchange trader that served as the link between RCBC and recipients like Wong.

"Para mapagtakpan niya ang kay Kim Wong, tingnan mo ang ginawa niya. Hinack nila iyan tapos kinasuhan nila ang Philrem money remittance tapos iyung Deguito na gustong tumestigo, kinasuhan din nila," Ang said.

"Tapos si Kim Wong na siya mismo ang kumuha, sinauli lang ang P450 million, bale 1 percent lang -- sabi niya, napakabuting tao ni Kim Wong... Kailangan malaman ng taumbayan lahat ng katarantaduhan ng si Aguirre na iyan."

JACK LAM, SANDRA CAM

Ang went on to accuse Aguirre of ordering 2 Immigration officials to extort money from gambling tycoon Jack Lam, who allegedly employed hundreds of undocumented Chinese workers in his online casino in Pampanga.

Former Immigration deputy commissioners Michael Robles and Al Argosino, Ang said, approached him for help, claiming that they were only following orders from a "higher-up."

"Siya (Aguirre) ang nag-utos. Hindi ko masasabing nakinabang siya sa pera," Ang said.

He added that Wally Sombero, Lam's alleged aide who handed P50 million to Argosino and Robles, was able to temporarily leave the country in January because of Aguirre.

"Tanungin niyo si Wally kung papaano siya nakalabas sa airport... Inilabas siya ni Aguirre. Iyan ang totoo diyan," Ang said.

Ang also alleged that Aguirre asked him not to reveal his purported role in the extortion scheme during a Senate investigation.

"Tumawag siya kay Sandra Cam. Alam kasi niyang kakilala ko si Sandra. 'Pakitanong mo nga sa kaibigan mo kung anong sasabihin niya sa Senate. Pakisabi naman na huwag niya akong idamay,'" Ang said.

AGUIRRE'S BROTHER

During the DZMM interview, Ang also accused Aguirre of using his authority to promote the Small Town Lottery (STL) operations of his brother, Engineer Ogie Aguirre, while tearing down its competitor, the Meridien Vista Gaming Corp.

Ang is an adviser of Meridien, which operates the Virtual Two lottery game that is popular in several provinces, including Pangasinan, Rizal, Bicol, Batangas and Bicol.

Meridien is based in Pangasinan but accepts bets from adjoining provinces, where its operations are sanctioned by mayors.

Aguirre, Ang said, has threatened local officials to cancel Meridien's permits.

"Patutunayan ko na iyang kapatid mo, kinakausap ang mga local government... Tinatakot niya at tinatakot mo na kailangang patigilin, i-cancel ang permit ng Meridien," he told Aguirre.

Ang previously accused Aguirre and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon of plotting to kill him in order to corner the gambling trade in the country.

Aguirre and Esperon have denied the allegations.

"It is very likely that he is concocting tall tales again as in past years or is simply paranoid, which is typical of people who engage in illegal activities," Esperon said in a statement.

"He should show evidence or witnesses that I want to see him dead," he added. With a report by Reuters