MANILA – Former Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC)-Jupiter branch manager Maia Santos Deguito on Tuesday tagged junket casino operator Kim Wong as Christopher Lagrosas, one of the four names with fake RCBC accounts where the stolen USD81 million from Bangladesh bank have been deposited.
During the sixth Senate inquiry on the USD81 million bank heist, RCBC’s legal chief Maria Celia Estavillo said she received a letter from Deguito, telling her that Deguito got instructions from Mr. Lagrosas on the transfer of funds to William Go.
Senator Serge Osmena III asked Deguito where is Lagrosas.
“When she speaks of Mr. Lagrosas, she is speaking of Kim Wong,” Deguito replied to Osmena.
“Kim ang dami mo palang pangalan e. ikaw ba?,” Osmena asked Wong, owner of the Eastern Hawaii Leisure Company Limited which got hold of USD21.575 million (Php1 billion) of the stolen USD81 million from Bank of Bangladesh.
“Yun peso account po…dahil yun si Gao may utang sa akin. So nagusap po kami ni Maia on Dec. 8 sa Solaire po na buksan yun peso account kaharap po sya,” Wong replied without confirming that he is Lagrosas.
Wong said it was Gao Shuhao, a junket casino agent who asked to open a peso account so that the latter could deposit the Php450 million he borrowed from Wong.
According to reports, a total of USD31 million of the stolen money was deposited to the dollar account of Lagrosas while while USD25 million to Enrico Vasquez, USD19.99 million to Alfred Vergara, and USD6 million to Michael Cruz’s account.
The fund was then consolidated and deposited in a dollar account of Go who eventually denied that he opened dollar account with RCBC Jupiter branch. Go claimed his signature was forged.
Deguito claimed that Michael ‘Con-Con’ Bautista and Wong know each other and that it was Wong who requested that PhilRem to transfer the stolen money from RCBC to Wong’s Eastern Hawaii Company.
Wong admitted that he knew Bautista but he had no knowledge about the PhilRem.
“He (Wong) might not know PhilRem but he know Con-con, so I have to tell him that it’s Con-con’s business,” Deguito said.
Osmena said Lagrosas might be a real person who was being used as Wong’s dummy.
Deguito and other key personalities in the stolen Bangladesh bank money have agreed to show phone records that may give lead on how to trace the remaining unrecovered funds.
Senator Paolo Benigno ‘Bam’ Aquino IV asked Senate blue ribbon committee chairman Teofisto Guingona III to compel Deguito, PhilRem Service Corp. president Salud Bautista and Wong to submit to the committee their respect phone transactions regarding the controversy.
Guingona accepted Aquino’s motion, prompting the three key witnesses to promise to bring their phone records in the next hearing.
Osmena said the blue ribbon committee found a lot of loop holes in the testimonies of the resource persons.
Meanwhile, Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) executive director Julia Bacay-Abad told the Senate panel that Wong returned last Monday another Php200 million to AMLC for safekeeping.
Wong initially returned voluntarily USD4.63 million cash that he received as head of the Eastern Hawaii Leisure Company Limited.
Wong then returned also another Php38 million which is part of the money that he supposedly received from Gao and was then played in a casino.
The Php200 million which Wong returned last Monday was part of the Php450 million that Gao barrowed from Wong.
In the same hearing, Salud’s messenger Mark Palmares told the panel that he delivered Php90 million and another USD500,000 to Weikang Xu at Solaire Resort and Casino in Paranaque City on Feb. 5.
The money was placed in a suitcase, a traveling bag and a shoulder bag and Palmares transported it from the car to the hotel’s VIP room upon instruction of Bautista.
With the new developments, Guingona said the Senate probe is expected to last even beyond the May 9 elections.
“Mahaba pa ito. Marami pa tayo dapat malaman para makatulong kung paano natin mapapalakas ang Anti-Money Laundering law natin,” Guingona said.
Osmena, for his part, said all the testimonies and evidences in the Senate inquiry will be shared to the government offices, particularly, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) which are investigating the stolen money from Bangladesh bank.