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DOJ junks money laundering case vs Philrem execs

/ 06:31 PM September 07, 2017

FILE – Salud Bautista and Michael Bautista of Philrem Service Corporation at the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee inquiry into the laundering of $81 million stolen from Bangladesh Bank which was deposited into bank accounts in RCBC’s Jupiter branch in Makati City. At right is businessman William So Go. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/LYN RILLON

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has dismissed the criminal complaint against the executives of remittance firm Philrem Service Corp. in the money laundering case involving $81 million stolen by hackers from the Bank of Bangladesh.

With the dismissal of the complaint filed by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), former Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. branch manager Maia Santos-Deguito is the only identified accused in the money laundering case filed before the Makati City regional trial court.

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In a six-page resolution made public Thursday, the DOJ has granted a motion for reconsideration filed by Philrem executives Salud Bautista, Michael Bautista and Anthony Pelejo last May and dismissed the charges filed by the Anti-Money Laundering Council against them.

“The Anti-Money Laundering Task Force took cognizance of the respondents’ averment that contrary to the charge filed against them, they have properly submitted a Suspicious Transaction Report (STR) on 17 February 2016. The respondents presented the subject STR and since the resolution centered on said document, the charge against them for money laundering is herein dismissed,” said the resolution signed by Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Emilie Fe Delos Santos.

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However, the separate money laundering case filed against six RCBC officials – namely former retail banking group head Raul Victor Tan, Ismael Reyes, Brigitte Capiña, Nestor Pineda, Romualdo Agarrado and Angela Ruth Torres – was still pending.

The DOJ, in its resolution, also denied Deguito’s motion for reconsideration.

The DOJ reiterated that Deguito was criminally liable “based on the fact that she facilitated the withdrawal of the said funds from RCBC and depositing them to the accounts of the unknown and fictitious account holders.”

“The motion for reconsideration is denied as the arguments have already been passed upon in the consolidated review resolution,” it explained in the latest resolution.

The eight counts of money laundering case against Deguito have been filed before the Makati Regional Trial Court.

The DOJ was also firm in its dismissal of the money laundering charges against casino junket operators Kim Wong and Weikang Xu “for insufficiency of evidence.”

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TAGS: $81 million cyber heist, Bank of Bangladesh, Maia Deguito, Philippine news updates, Philrem Service Corp., RCBC
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