Lawyer: Kim Wong harassed over RCBC launder case by ‘NBI men’
MANILA — A spokesperson of Midas Hotel casino junket operator Kim Wong has claimed that his client is being “harassed” by suspicious individuals representing themselves as agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
Lawyer Inocencio Ferrer said on Wednesday that a certain Senior Agent Ruel J. Dugayon and a team composed of more than 20 armed “agents” supposedly from the NBI’s National Capital Region division have been “doing the rounds” of Wong’s offices and known residential addresses while presenting what appeared to be an “irregular” search warrant issued by a Malabon judge.
“The search warrant was issued supposedly for alleged violations of the Cybercrime Prevention Act. The agents are looking for a certain ‘Wen Liu and/or other occupants’ of each office or residential address but are showing printed photos of Kim Wong,” Ferrer said.
The search warrant also authorizes the ‘agents’ to seize/confiscate telephones, computers and peripherals, cash, ATM cards, documents and bank transaction records “anytime of the day and night of the week,” according to Ferrer.
“This clearly constitutes harassment and subverts the current investigation by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee. My client already promised to present himself as a resource person on March 29 but with these kinds of ‘harassment,’ it seems there are forces who want to prevent him from testifying,” he said.
Meanwhile, another of Wong’s lawyers questioned the decision of the Anti-Money Laundering Council’s decision to accuse his client of facilitating the traffic of dirty money just days before the Chinese-Filipino businessman has been scheduled to testify before the Senate’s Blue Ribbon Committee.
Lawyer Victor Fernandez described the timing of the filing of AMLC’s complaint before the Department of Justice as “suspicious” adding that some powerful individuals might be seeking to prevent his client from revealing what he knew.
“It is our impression that some very powerful people are afraid of what our client will disclose, that’s why a premature case was filed against him by AMLC,” the lawyer said. “They probably think that filing the case will deter our client from coming home and testifying before the Senate. They are wrong.”
To recall, AMLC also filed a money laundering complaint against the branch manager of the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp.’s Jupiter St., Makati City branch just a few days before she was to testify at the Senate probe.
This prompted the branch manager, Maia Santos-Deguito, to repeatedly invoke her right to protect herself against self incrimination during the Senate probe. She insisted only that she reveal what she knew to senators behind closed doors because the AMLC complaint filed against her just before the hearings constrained her from testifying in the open, especially she said since the information she had constituted part of her legal defense.
Wong’s counsel said he was surprised that a criminal complaint was filed against his client based solely on the statement of Dequito before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.
“The investigation is still ongoing yet the AMLC used the transcript of stenographic notes as their only basis for the complaint,” he said. “Why is the AMLC in such a hurry?”
Nonetheless, Fernandez revealed that his client returned to the country last Sunday from Singapore, and “is ready and willing to testify before the Senate.”
He promised that Wong — who authorities believe is a key figure in the web of transactions that saw $81 million in stolen Bangladeshi funds allegedly laundered through the local financial system — would “tell all” in his appearance before the Senate on Tuesday, Mar. 29. SFM
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