MANILA – The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) on Monday received another batch of funds, amounting to PHP38.28 million, stolen from the Bangladesh Bank (BB).
AMLC Executive Director Julia Bacay-Abad, in a briefing, said casino junket operator Kim Wong returned the money through his legal team, composed of lawyers Victor Fernandez and Inocencio Ferrer Jr., who said that the funds are the amount abandoned by Gao Shu Hua in Eastern Hawaii Leisure Company Ltd. and/or Midas Casino.
She said the lawyers brought the money placed in a hard case trolley bag to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) office in Manila, where AMLC is headquartered, at around 11 a.m.
She said the money, in PHP500 and PHP1,000 bills, were counted with the help of the central bank’s Cash Department until 1:00 p.m., or for two hours.
“After the money was counted, we issued an acknowledgement receipt. We are acknowledging the receipt of the said amount for turn-over to the Bangladesh Bank,” she said.
It was the second tranche since the lawyers delivered some USD4.63 million last March 31.
Quoting some parts of the letter submitted by Wong’s legal team, Abad said return of the money is a “token of utmost sincerity and effort to cooperate and retrieve the funds abandoned by Gao Shu Hua in EHLCL and/or Midas Casino.”
It noted that this move “should not be interpreted or construed directly or indirectly as admission by EHL or Kam Sin Wong aka Kim Wong of any guilt or participation in or complicity to the offense for which Kim Wong is being charged by the AMLC.”
Abad said they were informed of the delivery of the money only this morning when Atty. Ferrer called BSP Deputy Governor Vic Aquino at around 10:00 a.m.
She stressed that they expect to recover bigger amount of money since USD81 million was stolen from BB.
“The amount of USD81 million have been stolen from the Bangladesh Bank (and) was remitted or received by these groups so we have to recover the same amount of money,” she said.
She added that AMLC and the BSP received the money for safekeeping until BB has made the necessary arrangement for its transfer.