Close  

Kim Wong on returning Bangladeshi funds: ‘Follow the law’

By: - Reporter / @daxinq
/ 05:59 PM April 10, 2016

MANILA — Kim Wong – one of the central figures in the $81-million money laundering scandal – has questioned the move of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to directly turn over to the Bangladeshi government the funds he had surrendered as a casino junket operator, saying that any turnover should be done in accordance with Philippine laws.

In a letter to Senate Blue Ribbon committee chair Teofisto Guingona III, Wong’s lawyers, Inocencio Ferrer Jr. and Kristoffer James Purisima, called AMLC’s stand “fundamentally erroneous, procedurally infirm and grossly contrary to law.”

ADVERTISEMENT

AMLC originally wanted Wong to issue a waiver and directly return to Bangladesh $4.63 million and P38.28 million that he turned over to the agency for safekeeping. But upon prodding by Guingona and Juan Ponce Enrile last week, AMLC changed its tune and decided to follow its own rules.

Wong has said that he has no objections to returning the money to its rightful owners, but said that — upon the advise of his counsels — any turnover should be in accordance with Philippine laws.

Wong, owner of the Eastern Hawaii Leisure Company Limited, earlier said the funds were abandoned by his junket agent Gao Shuhua at Solaire Resort and Casino and Midas Casinos where the stolen money from the Bangladeshi government was supposedly funnelled.

The money forms part of the $81-million stash, which was allegedly stolen by cyber thieves and found its way to four accounts in Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation’s Jupiter branch, and later transferred by money remittance firm Philrem Services Corp. to various casinos and junket operators.

Citing Section 12 and 17 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA), Wong’s lawyers said that “before any money or property can be turned-over and/or delivered to its rightful owner, AMLC should file before a court… a verified ex parte petition for forfeiture.”

Specifically, the law requires the filing of an action for civil forfeiture in accordance with the Rules of Court.

“Thus, to allow the direct turnover of said funds to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh without judicial intervention would be a direct violation of the provisions of said law,” the lawyers stressed.

During the Senate’s fourth public hearing on the money laundering scandal, AMLC executive director Julia Bacay-Abad sought Wong’s conformity for the immediate turnover of the funds.

In their legal opinion, Wong’s counsels also underscored that the funds surrendered by their client was neither technically owned by Wong nor his company Eastern Hawaii, since it was merely left by Gao at the two casinos.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Unless otherwise judicially declared, legal ownership of the said funds still rests with Gao as the person who introduced the same to both Solaire and Midas,” they said.  SFM

RELATED VIDEO

Read Next
LATEST STORIES
MOST READ
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: AMLC, Anti-Money Laundering Act, Anti-Money Laundering Council, Bangladesh, Bangladesh central bank, Banking, Banks, business, commercial banks, congressional hearing, congressional inquiry, Crime, cyber crime, cyber heist, cybercrime, Eastern Hawaii Leisure Company Limited, Features, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Gao Shuhua, Global Nation, Hacking, Inocencio Ferrer Jr., international banking, Juan Ponce-Enrile, Julia Bacay-Abad, Justice, Kim Wong, Kristoffer James Purisima, Law, Law enforcement, legislative hearing, legislative inquiry, Midas Casinos, money laundering, nation, Philippine Congress, Philippines, Philrem Services Corp., RCBC, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., Senate, Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, Solaire Resort and Casino, Teofisto Guingona III
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.


© Copyright 1997-2019 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.