Saturday, October 31, 2020

Philippines: Remittance firm Philrem Service faces money laundering charges in $81 million cyber heist


The Department of Justice has ordered the filing of charges for four counts of money laundering against the owners of local remittance firm Philrem Service Corp. in connection with the $81-million Bangladesh Bank cyber heist in 2016.

In a 23-page resolution dated December 12, 2019, Justice Undersecretary Adrian Ferdinand Sugay reversed an earlier department ruling dismissing the charges against the remittance firm’s owners.

He said Philrem – a covered institution under the Anti-Money Laundering Act – failed to report to the Anti Money Laundering Council (AMLC) the series of suspicious transactions that paved the way to conceal money stolen from the central bank of Bangladesh almost four years ago.

Upholding AMLC’s position, the Justice department said there is more than sufficient evidence to charge Philrem owners Salud and Michael Bautista and the firm’s compliance officer Anthony Pelejo “for knowingly transacting with money that represents, involves or relates to the proceeds of an illegal activity which facilitated the offense of money laundering.”

- Advertisement -

“Since Philrem Service Corp. is a covered institution under Republic Act No. 9160, as amended, its officers are and should be charged with full knowledge of the corporation’s legal obligations,” the resolution said.

“That [their] suspicious transaction report said so little despite what the law very clearly required betrays an attempt on the part of the corporation’s responsible officers to conceal, what is, in truth, a very irregular, if not downright illegal, transaction,” it added.

Meanwhile, the same resolution upheld an earlier recommendation by government lawyers to dismiss the charges against casino junket operators Kam Sin Wong and Weikang Xu for insufficient evidence.

It stressed that there’s not enough proof or corroborating evidence to establish their participation or knowledge in the laundering operation and the nature of the subject funds.

- Advertisement -

It will be recalled that in February 2016, still unidentified parties used fraudulent orders executed on the Swift electronic payments system to steal $81 million from the Bangladeshi central bank account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The money was sent to fictitious accounts at Rizal Commercial Banking Corp.’s Jupiter St. branch in Makati City, then found its way into the casino industry in the Philippines via Philrem.

Last year, the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 149 found former RCBC branch manager Maia Deguito guilty of eight counts of money laundering in connection with the heist and sentenced her to a jail term ranging from 32 to 56 years. The case is currently on appeal.


Actress Lori Loughlin begins 2-month prison sentence for role in college admissions scam

Actress Lori Loughlin reported to a federal prison in Northern California on Friday to start a two-month sentence for her role in a massive...

FirstEnergy fires CEO, other executives over Ohio bribery scandal

FirstEnergy Corp. has fired its CEO amid multiple federal investigations related to an Ohio nuclear bailout law passed year. The Akron-based utility company announced in a...

Ukraine’s court strips critical power from anti-corruption agency

Ukraine's Constitutional Court has stripped the country’s anti-corruption agency of some of its critical powers. The high court’s ruling published on October 28 declared it...

Former South Korean President Lee Myung-bak sent back to prison for 17 years in corruption case

Former South Korean president Lee Myung-bak was ordered back to prison on Thursday (Oct 29) as the country's Supreme Court upheld a 17-year jail...

Nigerian court declines to issue international arrest warrant for fugitive ex-Petroleum Minister in corruption case

The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, on Wednesday, refused an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for an arrest...

Subscribe For More

Get our daily notification on the latest financial crimes news around the World


Latest News

This Week

Macau to sign agreement with World Bank Group over money laundering risk assessment

Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak was granted powers by the Chief executive to sign a Reimbursable Advisory Services Agreement Concerning Risk Assessment of...

Former Columbus mayor Eisenga charged with bank fraud

A former Columbus mayor and businessman who was once at the center of a controversial bill aimed at reducing child support payments for wealthy...

Philippines’ President Duterte orders corruption probe across government agencies

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday he had ordered the justice ministry to launch a sweeping investigation into graft across all government agencies,...

Former solicitors used 60 fake identities, homeless people to defraud banks

A married couple who are former solicitors created 60 false identities, donned disguises and paid homeless people for their PPS numbers in order to...

Adblock Detected!

Our website is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors. Please consider supporting us by whitelisting our website.

Enable Notifications    Ok No thanks