With co-accused cleared, Deguito to face court alone for RCBC-Bangladesh heist | Inquirer Business

With co-accused cleared, Deguito to face court alone for RCBC-Bangladesh heist

By: - Business News Editor / @daxinq
/ 11:25 AM September 06, 2017

Maia S. Deguito, Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) ex-branch manager. AP FILE PHOTO

Former Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) branch manager Maia Deguito is set to face trial alone for money laundering charges in connection with last year’s $81-million cyberheist on the Bangladeshi central bank after complaints against her co-accused were dropped.

In a telephone interview, an audibly distraught Deguito said she is currently in the process of posting an as yet unspecified amount of bail at a Makati City court for eight counts of money laundering.

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“Sobrang obvious naman nito (this is too obvious),” she said, explaining that charges against all other parties in the biggest money laundering case in the country’s history, leaving her, the lowest ranking official among all the bankers involved, to face the courts alone.

READ: AMLC files charges vs. 6 RCBC execs for ‘money laundering’

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“You know me, I have no connections,” Deguito added. “Talagang nakakalungkot (It really saddens me).”

She said she is currently being assisted by her lawyer, and that they have just received a copy of the Department of Justice resolution which excluded the owners of the shuttered money changer Philrem, Michael and Salud Bautista.

READ: Philrem execs deny involvement in $81M laundering

Deguito was the manager of RCBC’s Jupiter Street branch in Makati City which held the fake bank accounts where the stolen proceeds from the Bangladesh heist were deposited, disappearing into the country’s opaque casino system.

During the ensuing Senate investigation, Deguito claimed she was acting under the orders of top RCBC officials to facilitate the transaction, specifically its then president Lorenzo Tan and treasurer Raul Tan, both of whom have since left the bank.

Deguito has been jobless since last year and concedes that she will probably never work in a bank again after her experience.

READ: Ex-RCBC branch head: ‘I am but a pawn…’

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“I’m the only one in this DOJ resolution,” she said during the phone interview. “Philrem has been cleared.”

Apart from facilitating the conversion of the stolen $81 million into local currency, Philrem was also accused by casino junket operator Kim Wong during last year’s Senate probe of holding on to $17 million of the missing Bangladeshi funds, which the Bautista couple deny. To this day, those funds remain unaccounted for.

Wong, initially included in the money laundering complaint, was cleared by the DOJ following his Senate testimony and his return of $4.6 million and P450 million, separately, which he said were brought in by a gaming client without informing him that the cash was obtained through illegal means.

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TAGS: bangladesh, Bangladesh Central Bank, Bank Heist, cyberheist, Maia Deguito, RCBC
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