Ex-RCBC branch head: ‘I am but a pawn…’
A “pawn in a high-stakes chess game played by giants in international banking and high finance.”
This was how the former branch manager of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC), Maia Santos-Deguito, described herself on Tuesday when she returned at the ongoing Senate blue ribbon committee’s investigation into the alleged $81 million stolen funds from the Bangladesh’s central bank.
“Recently, other resource persons have laid practically all the blame on me for the alleged money-laundering as if I had the reources at my mid-management level to put all the pieces in place for a crime involving almost P4 billion,” Deguito said, reading from a prepared statement.
“Truly, a crime of this magnitude could be possible only with the participation of people from the highest wealthy businessmen whose far-reaching powers and influence span several countries.”
“On hindsight, I have unwittingly allowed myself to be set up as the scapegoat when all I wanted was to advance my career, boost performance as a bank manager, and together with my husband, help provide for my family. These are legitimate goals of every working mother,” she said.
It was Deguito, former RCBC branch manager on Jupiter Street, Makati City, who facilitated the opening of five bank accounts allegedly used to receive and withdraw the said stolen funds.
If there was a conspiracy, Deguito said she had no knowledge of it.
And if she had mistakes, she said, it was that she believed and trusted the RCBC President Lorenzo Tan, followed him and relied on the fact that he “could not have been unaware of a transaction that has been labelled the biggest ban heist in the history of the world.”
“I am but a pawn in a highest-stakes chess games played by giants in international banking and high finance,” she said.
“If this is committee is looking for the ‘grandmaster,’ it is not me. The line runs much higher and involves persons with much more clout and authority than a simple bank manager with modest capabilities has,” Deguito added. RAM