Friday, October 23, 2020

DOJ sought exclusion of RCBC bank from Bangladesh money laundering case

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) has asked the Makati City Regional Trial Court to exclude the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) from “attending and interfering” in the case it filed against its bank officials related to the $81-million funds stolen by hackers from the Bank of Bangladesh in 2016.

RCBC, last month filed a motion to quash the subpoena to stop its internal auditor from testifying and producing in court the initial audit report dated Feb. 8, 2016, and the updated final audit report dated March 17, 2016.

The audit reports were supposed to be used by the prosecution to prove the existence of money laundering.

RCBC, in their motion to quash said that there are other accounts not related to the case that is included in the audit report and submitting them in court could expose them to liability and may be held criminally, civilly and/or administratively liable.

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But the Makati Regional Trial Court, on Sept. 17, denied RCBCs motion.

“The authority of the AMLC [Anti-Money Laundering Council] to have full access on related accounts under the bank inquiry order should not be frustrated by the expedient inclusion of other unrelated accounts stated therein,” read the court’s ruling adding that the unrelated accounts to the case could be blotted out.

The Makati Court added that AMLC is just requesting a copy of the audit report. It added that for a piece of evidence to be excluded, it must first be formally offered by a party to the case.

“It is only at that time, and not at any other, that objection to the documentary evidence may be made,” read the court’s ruling.

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DOJ prosecutors argued that “RCBC has no standing in this criminal proceedings… No valid and legal justification was presented by RCBC to let them continue to take part in this case, as in fact, they have no right to be part of this case unless they acquiesced to the money laundering committed by the accused.”

The DOJ pointed out that RCBC’s participation in the case “has caused undue delay” in the proceedings.

During Tuesday’s hearing, the court has already submitted the DOJ’s motion for resolution.

The Makati Court is hearing the case filed by the DOJ against officers of RCBCs Retail Banking Group (RBG).

DOJ prosecutors already presented as witnesses Mohammad Abdur Rab, Joint Director of Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit and Forensic Analyst Jalal Uddin Fahim of the Bangladesh Police’s Cyber Police Center, Criminal Investigation Division.

Another witness from the Bangladesh Police, Ryhan Uddin Khan, of its Criminal Investigation Division, is also set to testify.

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