An investigator with the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) testified before the Sandiganbayan that Sen. Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. closed 20 bank accounts – each containing sums in the millions – in the months directly preceding and succeeding the media explosion of the pork barrel scam.
Speaking before the anti-graft court on Thursday, AMLC bank investigator Leigh Vhon Santos said: “Revilla terminated his investments and bank accounts immediately before and after the PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) scandal circulated in the media.”
Santos brought forth a 63-page investigative report disclosing the council’s findings of Revilla’s banking affairs, adding that they had “identified around 20 bank accounts and investments which were terminated in June to September 2013, which was around the time the scandal spread in the media.”
Revilla is currently detained for charges of graft and plunder relative to the P10-billion pork barrel scam. The senator allegedly diverted millions of pesos from his PDAF or pork barrel allotment into phony non-government corporations set-up by purported pork scam mastermind, Janet Lim-Napoles.
But the senator’s fraudulent activity may extend even beyond that, as Santos’ testimony revealed.
Santos disclosed that the AMLC report uncovered evidence that Revilla may have concocted a scheme for laundering money using funds from his pork barrel.
“Considering the foregoing, there are indications of money laundering scheme,” the AMLC report said; as Santos detailed that: “Between April 6, 2006 to April 28, 2010, Revilla and his immediate family made numerous deposits to their various bank accounts and placed investments totaling P87,626,587.63 within 30 days from the dates mentioned in Benhur Luy’s ledger when Revilla, through lawyer Richard Cambe, senior staff of the detained senator, allegedly received commissions of rebates to his PDAF in cash.”
At this point, however, the AMLC said that the evidence is still inconclusive, and that further investigations need to be done in order to confirm the existence of the money laundering scheme.
“There is, however, a need to conduct further investigation to determine the extent of the subjects’ participation and identify the other monetary instruments that were possibly involved in the laundering scheme,” the AMLC report stated.