The authorities of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp (RCBC) have claimed that Maia Santos Deguito, its Jupitar Branch Manager, was responsible for $81 million Bangladesh Bank heist from its reserve in Federal Reserve Bank, Anti Money Laundering Council (AMLC) of Philippines in a report has revealed.
It says Maia Santos Deguito helped in stealing this money with the assistance of others employees in her Jupitar office. She made the transaction of the stolen money quickly by preparing voucher at her own initiatives. It has also said, knowing that the stolen money was from Bangladesh, she helped to shift the money.
The report of RCBC says, in May 2015, four bank accounts had been opened and these remained unused until February 5, 2016 when $81 million, supposedly coming from the Central Bank of Bangladesh, entered the accounts. On that day they deposited $30 million in Jessy Christopher’s account and transferred $20.27 million to William S Go’s account. Later, they converted the money into pesos by remittance firm Philrem.
Appearing at the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee investigating the scam that began at Bangladesh Bank Federal Reserve in New York, William So Go denied the accusation. Go said personally he never opened an account with the RCBC Jupiter Branch. He also said, “I strongly deny these allegations. I never opened an account with RCBC Jupiter Branch.”
Branch Manager, Deguito, had opened this account without taking his permission, he claimed. “Even she offered me P10 million for keeping mum about it.” However, Deguito denied his allegation.
The report also revealed that in spite of being the account holder, there was no signature of Go in the deposit slip, cheque and fund transfer form. Without his signature the bank continued transaction into five accounts and the branch manager Deguito was aware about it.
The report has added that the phone call of Deguito is its proof. In her conversation with the other, it was found that Deguito recommended the account-holders as known by her personally, and also aware about the huge money transaction. She was also found commanding that they were transacting huge amounts by ensuring all documents and all formalities.
On the other hand, on February 9, Bangladesh Bank authorities sent a message to RCBC to seize those four accounts’ transaction. But she did not pay heed to this massage; rather, on this day they shifted $50.81 million from the bank.
Two colleagues of Maia Deguito told a parliamentary investigation on Thursday, she received a threat on her life and her family. If she did not help them to launder that money, she along with her family members would be killed. That was why Deguito helped transaction of this huge amount. In this theft case, two other bank officials – Remart Marbella and Angela Toresh – helped her.
Deguito claimed, she opened four other accounts except Go’s by maintaining the rules of the bank.
The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) itself filed the charges against Deguito and others involved in what is billed as the largest money-laundering scam in the Philippines.
The AMLC has said Deguito violated the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA), the law protects the Philippines from entry and circulation of funds derived from illegal channels.
In a nine-page complaint-affidavit filed by the AMLC Compliance and Investigation Group before the Department of Justice (DOJ) last Friday exclusively named respondents – Michael Francisco Cruz, Jessie Christopher Lagrosas, Alfred Santos Vergara and Enrico Teodoro Vasquez – with whom the bank accounts opened for the transaction were named later. The complaint has said these names may be fake ones.
The AMLC said Deguito approved the opening of the subject bank accounts on May 15, 2015 based on fictitious identity on documents and she helped those false account-holders to withdraw that money.