DOJ files money laundering raps only vs RCBC manager Deguito in $81-M Bangladesh bank heist

September 6, 2017 - 7:03 PM
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Former RCBC-Jupiter branch manager Maia Deguito appears at a Senate hearing on the laundering of the $81 million in Bank of Bangladesh funds stolen by hackers. SENATE PRIB FILE PHOTO

MANILA – The Department of Justice has filed eight counts of money laundering against Maia Deguito, the former manager of the Jupiter branch of RCBC when it got embroiled in the $81-million heist of Bank Bangladesh funds in 2016.

The DOJ resolution said there was probable cause to charge Deguito and five account holders of RCBC who owned fictitious accounts that were used to launder the money that hackers stole from the Bank of Bangladesh’s account with the US Federal Reserve in New York.

The DOJ, however, cleared spouses Michael and Salud Bautista, owners of the Philrem remittance firm, in the complaint it filed before the Makati regional trial court.

Deguito’s lawyer, Atty.Ferdinand Topacio, confirmed that an arrest warrant had been issued against his client.

He deplored the DOJ action, asking aloud why it singled out Deguito and ignored evidence against RCBC itself, Philrem, and certain Chinese businessmen and casino operators who were dragged into the case.

“The Resolution of the Department of Justice finding probable cause only against our client, is a travesty of justice of the worst kind. It ignores clear and compelling evidence that certain officials of the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation, Chinese businessmen, casino operators and Philrem acted in concert with one another to pull off the greatest bank heist in history,” Topacio said in a statement.

” The DOJ has, in effect, come to the laughable conclusion that a mere bank manager stole US$81 million from the Federal Reserve and the Bank of Bangaladesh, and laundered it through the Philipine banking system and the casino complex, all by her lonesome self.

“As usual, wealthy bankers and businessmen have bought their way out of the reach of justice.”

Nonetheless, Topacio said they will continue to fight, and “compel the inutile Bangko Sentral to disclose why they fined RCBC one billion pesos, since the BSP is hiding the reason in order to protect its own miserable regulatory failures and to protect a banking cabal.”