Why was Philrem not charged over $81-M money laundering case? — Ople
MANILA — Senatorial candidate Susan “Toots” Ople is asking the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) why the Philippine Remittance Co. (Philrem) and its owners led by Salud Bautista were not charged in the laundering of $81 million stolen by cyber thieves from the Bangladesh central bank.
In an interview during a break at the Rizal coliseum, Ople said Bautista’s testimony at the Senate probe showed that she was deeply involved in the scheme to divert the stolen funds to casinos.
Ople said the least that AMLC could have done was to suspend Philrem’s operations until investigators have cleared it of any complicity in the scam.
“We’re wondering why Philrem is not being charged or much less being investigated. We want to know the nature of its financial transactions and whether it was part of the conspiracy or not,” said Ople.
Ople, the daughter of the late Sen. Blas Ople, said that authorities should determine how much of Philrem’s operations involved remittances of overseas Filipino workers’ groups and major fund transfers such as the series of deals involving the $81-million stolen funds.
She pointed out that Bautista has not sufficiently explained how much money Philrem facilitated in the deal and whether all the funds have been accounted for. Also, Ople said that Philrem appeared to be a major player in the remittance business as major remittance firms such as Western Union have dealt with Philrem as testified by Bautista.
“Our main concern is that if authorities do not show political will in cracking down on this dirty business, we might find ourselves back on the grey list, which would affect remittances of ordinary Filipinos,” said Ople. SFM
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