DOJ to appear for Bangladesh before AMLC in recovering stolen funds
The Department of Justice (DOJ) will appear for the Bangladesh government in its effort to recover the funds stolen by hackers and laundered into the country.
“The government will help in returning the money to Bangladesh. The DOJ will appear for Bangladesh [before the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC)] in its effort to recover the money,” Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said in a text message to reporters.
The Philippine government has an existing mutual legal assistance arrangement with Bangladesh.
On Wednesday, Bangladeshi officials led by Ambassador John Gomes met Aguirre to discuss ways on how to speed up the recovery of Bangladeshi funds.
Gomes said after the meeting that he and his government are confident that the money will be recovered and returned to them.
“Let me tell you one thing that starting from the Honorable President when I met him in Davao and his other officials, they have all given me their commitment that they will do everything that is required to recover the money starting right from the President himself. So, I’m very optimistic, I am actually very much pleased whenever I meet the new officials the way they are coming forward to help us get our money back,” Gomes told reporters after the meeting where he was accompanied by Ajmalul Hossain, a lawyer of the Bangladesh Bank where the money was stolen by hackers.
Aside from Aguirre, Gomes said they also met with Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) chief Andrea Domingo adding that after the meeting with Aguirre, they would also make a courtesy call on the Solicitor General and the AMLC to get updates on the case.
He said he and Hussein discussed with Domingo the steps they can take so that the $2.7 million of the stolen money which was frozen in the state gaming corporation would be returned to Bangladesh as soon as possible.
Though the DOJ has yet to resolve the various money laundering complaints filed against individuals in connection with the stolen funds, Gomes said Aguirre has told him the case will soon be resolved.
“This case about the $15 million (part of the $81-million stolen money), [I] think very soon within one month they [should resolve] that case and Bangladesh will be getting back their money. About the remaining amount from the $81 million, that is what we are doing and one of the issues we discussed with the DOJ Secretary and he also inquired about the remaining amount,’ the Bangladeshi envoy said adding that Aguirre and the other officials they talked to were “very cooperative with us.”
Kim Wong turned over to the AMLC the amount of $4.6 million for safekeeping last March, followed by P38 million in April and P250 million in May.
The Manila Court already forfeited the surrendered amount.
Wong, Philrem president Salud Bautista, chairman of the board and treasurer Michael “Concon” Bautista and anti-money laundering compliance officer Anthony Pelejo as well as Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation Jupiter, Makati branch manager Maia Santos-Deguito were the subject of money laundering complaints filed by the AMLC before the DOJ. RAM
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.