Monday, April 4, 2016

US Fed blocked movement of $850-M stolen money

The stolen $850 million from the Bank of Bangladesh would have made the peso appreciate to as high as P30 against the dollar if it had found its way into the economy, Sen. Serge Osmeña III said yesterday.
The $850 million or roughly P40 billion would have been deposited with Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) in 30 tranches of $30 million and $20 million had this not been blocked by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Documents from the Bank of Bangladesh showed details of 30 payment instructions or PIs that were not executed by the New York Fed after these were found to be suspicious transactions.
The list showed payment instructions to the five supposedly fictitious accounts with RCBC: Enrico Teodoro Vasquez, Alfred Santos Vergara, Michael Francisco Cruz, Jessie Christopher Lagrosas and Ralph Picache.
According to the documents, each of the RCBC fictitious accounts would have received $170 million or five tranches of $30 million and one tranche of $20 million, all in a matter of two seconds at midnight of Feb. 5.
“Can you imagine if this money found its way into the economy? It would have ended in the country’s casinos and would have sent the peso to as much as P30 against the dollar (from the prevailing rate of P46),” Osmeña said.
It was on Feb. 4 when unidentified hackers broke into Bangladesh Bank’s account with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and gave payment instructions for 35 transfers worth roughly $930 million. Only $81 million was able to get through.
The Federal Reserve Bank did not execute 30 of the 35 transfers due to “consideration of suspicious transaction.”
The Philippines and Bangladesh are investigating the laundering of some $81 million stolen by hackers from the Bank of Bangladesh.
credit/by: By Iris Gonzales and Philippine Star
The $81 million stolen from the Bangladesh Bank allegedly entered the Philippines via the Jupiter, Makati branch of RCBC through alleged accounts of several individuals, including businessman William Go.
Senators are now looking at amending the law to include casinos in the coverage of the country’s Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 following the heist.
But during a Senate investigation into the matter, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile said there was no guarantee the inclusion of casinos in the coverage of the law would have helped the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) in stopping the $81-million heist when it was unable to do so at the bank level.
On Thursday, Chinese casino operator Kim Wong turned over $4.63 million of the $81 million to AMLC. The money was given to him by a Chinese junket operator who owed him money.
Update: April 5, 2016 will resume the Senate Investigation regarding this matter. Disclaimer: All facts were verified by the original writer of the newspaper and Senate Inquiries and Investigation.