Anti-Money Laundering Law in the Philippines

By Joann Santiago

MANILA, March 11 (PNA) — A Palace official on Friday said further improvement in the Philippines’ money laundering law can be introduced by the next administration.

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. declined to comment on the case being investigated by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) regarding the alleged laundering of about USD 81 million in February 2016 but assured that the Council is doing it responsibilities.

”It is best that we await the findings of the AMLC. The next administration and the incoming Congress will have the opportunity to act on possible legislation that could strengthen government’s capability to stop money laundering activities,” he added.

The money laundering was discovered through several accounts opened at the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) Jupiter branch in Makati City.

RCBC said it has launched its own investigation on the case, which involved funds obtained by hackers from the US dollar account of Bangladesh Bank, Bangladesh’s central bank, with the Federal Reserve of New York in February 2016.

The money was placed in several accounts with the RCBC Jupiter and was consolidated through an account reportedly owned by businessman William Go, owner of DBA Centurytex Trading.

Four individuals, identified as Enrico Teodoro Vasquez, Alfred Santos Vergara, Michael Francisco Cruz and Jessie Christopher Lagrosas, are now under investigation by the AMLC. They own the RCBC accounts in Jupiter branch that received the questionable funds last February 4.

Reports by a national daily, Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI), said about USD 25 million was transferred to Vasquez’ account, USD 19.99 million in Vergara’s, USD 6 million in Cruz’ and USD 30 in Lagrosa’s. (PNA)

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