The Philippines’ Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) on Tuesday said it is prepared to raise and return the balance of the $81 million stolen from the central bank of Bangladesh if ordered to do so.
“If we are found liable, I would recommend to the board to set aside certain money,” Lorenzo Tan, RCBC president and CEO, who is on leave, told the Senate Blue Ribbon committee at the resumption of its inquiry into how the money made its way to the country until
eventually disappearing into casinos.
However, Bangladesh Bank spokesman and executive director Subhankar Saha told UNB that he has no knowledge about the latest state of the hearing.
“But two officials of the central bank are now in Manila to maintain communications with the Philippines authority. They might have better
information on the issue,” he said.
On February 5, hackers stole the funds from a current account that Bangladesh Bank held with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York,
transferring the cash electronically to fictitious accounts in RCBC.
The money was then allegedly consolidated into a single dollar account in the name of Filipino-Chinese businessman William S Go, who
later claimed his signature was forged.
RCBC then wired the funds from the supposed Go account to Philrem Service Corp, which converted the dollars to pesos and delivered it
to Bloomberry Resorts Corp’s Solaire Resort and Casino, casino operator Eastern Hawaii Leisure Co Ltd, and junket promoter Weikang
During Tuesday’s hearing, Senator Ralph Recto noted that junket operator Kim Wong had returned $4.6 million and P38 million (around
$8.24 million) to the Anti-Money Laundering Council, while around $17 million is still with Philrem, report Philippines media.
“Assuming that we are talking about $80 million and $30 million (which) would be returned, then what remains is $50 million or P2.3
billion. Assuming RCBC gives this to Bangladesh … maybe our market price would improve from what it used to be … that’s something for the (RCBC) board to consider,” Recto said.
On questioning by Recto, Tan said the Yuchengco-led bank’s market capital prior to the Blue Ribbon inquiry was around P45 billion but
dropped by P2-3 billion in March.
In 2015, the bank made a profit of P5.2 billion, Tan added.