Ex-S&R owner to sue RCBC manager over heist
MANILA, Philippines — Filipino-Chinese businessman William Go plans to sue the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) branch manager who linked him to the controversial $100-million Bangladesh Bank heist, of which $81 million has been transferred to RCBC's Jupiter branch in Makati City.
Go, who used to own S&R Membership Shopping, on Friday, March 11, denied any links to the money-laundering scheme.
He said in a letter distributed to reporters that he did not even open a peso or dollar account in RCBC’s Jupiter branch.
"Mr. Go has no involvement in the opening of the accounts (in RCBC). He had no knowledge, he did not transact (anything with RCBC)," Go's legal counsel, Ramon S. Esguerra, told media in his office in Makati City.
Go, owner of Centurytex Trading, is among those who are being investigated for a cross-border electronic fraud and money-laundering scheme, according to a report by the Phillipine Daily Inquirer.
But Esguerra clarified that the Filipino-Chinese businessman’s signature that appeared on RCBC’s records was "forged."
"I think what was opened under the name of Mr. Go – using a forged signature – was a dollar account. There was another peso account I think that was opened," Esguerra said.
Possible charges vs RCBC, branch manager
RCBC Jupiter branch manager Maia Santos-Deguito was accused by Esguerra of "falsifying the opening of Go’s foreign exchange account, which consolidated all the other accounts."
"We are looking at filing charges versus RCBC, and Jupiter branch Manager Deguito," Esguerra said.
In Go’s affidavit sent to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the businessman said he received a phone call from “a friend” informing him that Deguito, a former branch manager of East West Bank, requested to meet him to discuss “a very important matter.”
“I became anxious why Ms. Santos wanted to meet with me considering that she is no longer handling Centruytex’s East West-Fort accounts, and from information, is currently the manager of RCBC Jupiter branch,” Go said in his affidavit.
He added that when he met with Santos on February 23 at Serendra, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, the branch manager disclosed to Go that she opened fictitious dollar and peso bank accounts for Centurytex at RCBC Jupiter without his knowledge.
“I was shocked and outraged by Ms. Santos revelation,” Go added.
According to Esguerra, Go has only a corporate account with RCBC’s TriNoma branch for Napolitano Food Corporation, which operated Pizza Warehouse.
Go did not join the press conference in Makati “because of security issues,” Esguerra said.
“The baseless imputation of an illegal act against me and my business caused me anxiety, sleepless nights, and resulted to damage in my hard-earned reputation and good will,” Go said in the affidavit.
Other than RCBC and NBI, the Anti-Money Laundering Council, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation have started their own investigation on the biggest money-laundering case recorded in Philippine history.
Bangladesh's government said hackers allegedly stole nearly $100 million from a reserve account.
Investigators said the stolen money was illegally transferred online to the Philippines and Sri Lanka. Bangladesh Bank, the central bank, earlier said it had recovered part of the money and was in contact with the Philippines' anti-money laundering authorities to track down the rest.
A Philippine Senate hearing on this has been set on March 15. — Rappler.com