Philippine DOJ clears junket operators in Bangladeshi bank heist
The Philippine Department of Justice (DOJ) has affirmed the dismissal of a criminal case filed against two junket operators earlier tagged in last year’s Bangladeshi bank heist.
DOJ Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Emilie Fe De Los Santos has dismissed the criminal complaint that the anti-money laundering watchdog filed against casino junket operator Kim Wong and Weikang Xu due to insufficiency of evidence, according to a Philippine Daily Inquirer report.
The criminal complaint against Wong and Xu stemmed from the February 2016 unauthorized transfer of $81m from Bangladeshi Bank accounts at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York to accounts at the RCBC branch managed by Deguito.
The identity of those who initiated the transfer remains unproven, but suspicions have focused on hackers working for the North Korean government.
Appearing before the Senate probe last year, Wong denied that he was involved in the illegal funneling of stolen funds from the Bangladeshi central bank accounts.
He claimed that two Chinese junket agents – Gao Shu Hua from Beijing and Ding Zhi Ze from Macau – were responsible for bringing the money into the Philippines via accounts they arranged with RCBC manager Maia Santos-Deguito.
Meanwhile, De Los Santos overturned its earlier decision to indict the executives of remittance firm Philrem Service Corp. in the money laundering case involving $81 million stolen by hackers from the Bank of Bangladesh.
Philrem executives Salud Bautista, Michael Bautista and Anthony Pelejo filed a motion for reconsideration in May for their case and was granted by the DOJ.
“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,” the resolution stated.
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Source: Philippine DOJ clears junket operators in Bangladeshi bank heist