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Broken CCTV cameras, fake documents raise doubts on RCBC branch

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 04:11 PM March 14, 2016
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RCBC Jupiter Street branch in Makati where $81 million in laundered money passed through RAFFY LERMA/INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

All closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) on Jupiter Street in Makati City were “not functioning” on the day the alleged $81-million stolen funds were withdrawn from the bank, Senator Teofisto Guingona III disclosed on Monday.

Guingona, chairman of the Senate blue ribbon committee, said they learned this information from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

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The committee is set to investigate the reported cross-border electronic fraud and money-laundering scheme involving some $81 million funds that were allegedly stolen by computer hackers from the US account of Bank of Bangladesh and slipped through the Philippine financial system.

READ: MONEY LAUNDERING: Where did $81 million go?

Guingona also disclosed that the four persons, who received and withdrew the funds from the bank last February 9, 2016, had submitted faked documents, such as driver’s license.

The four, who reportedly owned the bank accounts were Enrico Teodoro Vasquez, Alfred Santos Vergara, Michael Francisco Cruz and Jessie Christopher Lagrosas.

READ: Senate summons Tan, Go, Deguito

“Fake yung mga documents na sinabmit, for example yung driver’s license, fake yun. Ngayon nalaman natin fake yun,” he said in an interview at the Senate.

(The documents they submitted were fake, for example, the driver’s license, that’s fake. Now we know it’s fake.)

Guingona said the four also identified themselves as employees, however, their alleged employers denied their claims.

“And interestingly because there were withdrawals on February 9, the day after the (Chinese) New Year, interestingly because there were withdrawals, lahat ng bank merong CCTV (all the banks have CCTV [cameras]). Sira yung CCTV on that day, RCBC, Jupiter branch (The CCTV [cameras] on that day, RCBC, Jupiter branch were not functioning),” he said.

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“It was reported to us by AMLC,” the senator said, “The whole system was not functioning on that day.”

Asked if he found this suspicious, Guingona said: “Definitely. Very conveniently, sira yung cameras on that day (Very conveniently, the cameras were functioning on that day.)”

The senator said the four bank account holders could not also be found when the committee served its invitations to their given addresses.

READ: 6 probed for money laundering

“Hindi na mahanap pa, hindi na mahanap,” said Guingona.

(They could not be found.)

“Kasi may mga addresses sila, noong nag served kami ng invitation sa kanila either fake yung address or tama yung address pero wala yung taong ganun na nakatira dun,” he said.

(They have given addresses, but when we served our invitation to these addresses, it’s either their fake or the addresses are correct but these people don’t live there.)

Guingona said the fake documents and addresses only proved that there were shortcomings on the part of the RCBC.

“May pagkukulang talaga kasi (There were really shortcomings because) one of the important principles of money-laundering is know your customer so you have to know, yung (the) depositors. Sino ba sya? Saan nakatira? Ano bang business nya? (Who is he? Where does he live? What is his business?”

“…The fact is hindi naimbestiga, hindi na report para sa akin, at nilabas nila (it was not investigated, for me it was not reported but they [RCBC] released it),” the senator added. RAM

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TAGS: AMLC, Anti-Money Laundering Council, Bank of Bangladesh, CCTV cameras, closed circuit television, RCBC, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp.
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