Wednesday, May 25

Kim Wong surrenders additional $0.83m to AMLC



Casino junket operator Kam Sin Kim Wong today delivered another $830,595.50 (P38.28 million) to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) of Philippine for safekeeping in the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) headquarters in Manila.

AMLC officials will eventually surrender the amount to the Bangladesh officials, reports The Manila Times.

This is on top of the initially surrendered $4.63 million, part of the $81 million stolen by hackers from the Bangladesh Bank.

Wong, represented by his legal counsel Victor Fernandez, turned over the money to AMLC member.

Among those present during the turnover were BSP officer-in-charge Vicente Aquino, Bangladesh Embassy Manila Deputy Chief of Mission Shahnaz Gazi, Insurance Commissioner Emmanuel Dooc, AMLC Executive Director Julia Bacay-Abad, Wong’s lawyers Fernandez and Inocencio Ferrer Jr, as well as Bangladesh Bank officials.

Wong said the P38 million, which he believed was part of the $81 million money stolen in the Bangladesh central bank, represents the abandoned funds of junket operator Shuhua Gao, according to Online media

Wong’s representative surrendered last week $4.63 million to AMLC, after the junket operator promised to return the amount in a Senate hearing.

Aside from that, Wong said he is also willing to return the P450 million Gao paid to him as debt payment, if proven that the money was stolen.

Wong, owner of the Eastern Hawaii Leisure Co. Ltd., which operates a hotel-casino complex at the Cagayan Special Economic Zone has been accused of masterminding the money laundering scandal after former Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation Jupiter branch manager Maia Santos-Deguito testified against him in a close-door meeting with senators last March 17.

The BSP official said the counting of the P38.28 million started 11 am and ended at 1 pm.

Bangladesh Ambassador to the Philippines John Gomes said last week that members of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) are due to coordinate with Philippine authorities on the money-laundering case.

“Officials of the CID will coordinate with the BSP [Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas]. They will start their own investigation on how the money entered the country and who are the people involved,” Gomes had said.

He said the CID officials will attend the fourth Senate blue ribbon committee hearing on the Bangladesh Bank fund heist on Tuesday, April 5.

“We are hopeful that the entire amount will be recovered. The return of $4.63 million from Wong is a step in the right direction,” Gomes had said.