DOJ assigns prosecutor to probe RCBC branch manager
THE Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday assigned a prosecutor to conduct a preliminary investigation into the anti-money laundering complaint filed against a branch manager of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) in connection with the $81-million funds stolen by hackers from Bangladesh Bank (BB).
Assistant State Prosecutor Gilmari Fe Pacamara has been assigned to handle the case against bank manager Maia Santos-Deguito.
Aside from Santos-Deguito, facing complaint for violation of the Anti-Money Laundering Law include several John Does: “Michael Francisco Cruz,” “Jessie Christopher Lagrosas,” “Alfred Santos Vergara,” and “Enrico Teodoro Vasquez.”
Based on the complaint filed by the AMLC Compliance and Investigation Group, Deguito approved the opening of the bank accounts of the four “John Does,” which upon investigation the documents presented to the RCBC Jupiter branch turned out to be fictitious.
“Not only did respondent Deguito failed to verify the identities of the respondents within nine months from the time the accounts were opened, she even allowed respondent John Does to withdraw money stolen from Bangladesh Bank,” the complaint stated.
AMLC said when Deguito allowed the withdrawals, she already knew that the money was stolen from the Bangladesh Bank because there was already a request for RCBC to stop the payment.
“Despite that, respondent allowed and facilitated the withdrawal transaction of respondent John Doe,” AMLC said.
On May 15, 2015, Cruz, Lagrosas, Vergara and Vasquez opened an account at RCBC Jupiter branch in Makati.
On Feb. 5, 2016, the funds were transferred to the following accounts at RCBC—Michael Cruz for $6,000,039.12; Jessie Christopher Lagrosas for $30,000,039.12; Alfred Vergara for $20,000,000.00 and Enrico Vazquez for $25,001583.88.
On Feb. 6, 2016, the Bangladesh Bank Swift (Society of the Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) Room Back Office discovered the unauthorized payment instructions. Based on BB incident report, it did not execute 30 payment instructions worth US$850,005,262 due to lack of beneficiary details.
However, it was discovered that the transactions for Cruz, Lagrosas, Vergara and Vazquez were cleared.
On Feb. 9, respondent John Does made an over-the-counter withdrawal.
BB Swift made the request for stop payment or refund of the funds on Feb. 8 which falls on a holiday because it was Chinese New Year.
A Swift message dated Feb. 9, 2016 requesting to stop and hold the payment of the remaining proceeds was received 7:45 p.m. AC
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