Antonio Tiu sues AMLC head with perjury

MANILA, Philippines – Billionaire businessman Antonio Tiu last week filed criminal charges against Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) Executive Director Julia Bacay-Abad for tagging him as the "dummy" of Vice-President Jejomar Binay.

Tiu – who owns several agribusiness companies including Greenergy Holdings, Incorporated and AgriNurture, Incorporated — lodged perjury complaints against Bacay-Abad before the Department of Justice last Friday, April 29, for peddling false information to obtain an order from the Court of Appeals (CA) to freeze his bank accounts. (READ: Does Antonio Tiu really own 'Hacienda Binay'?)

In addition to the perjury raps, Tiu said in an 11-page complaint that Bacay-Abad maliciously and falsely implicated him in the alleged unlawful money laundering scheme of presidential candidate Binay.

"Despite my legitimate business, I was maliciously and falsely implicated in a supposed unlawful scheme of laundering money and it was made to appear that there are financial transactions involving myself or my companies which had purportedly no underlying legal or trade obligations, purpose, or economic justification," Tiu said.

To recall, the embattled businessman was accused of being Binay's front in bankrolling ill-gotten funds linked to corruption in Makati City projects. 

AMLC filed an ex-parte petition before the CA on May 7, 2015, seeking to freeze Tiu’s bank accounts, investments, and insurance policies together with other respondents. (READ: IN PHOTOS: The 'hacienda' that Antonio Tiu says he owns)

In his complaint, Tiu said Bacay-Abad linked him to the money laundering case against Binay for buying $20.46 million in foreign exchange from Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) Forex Brokers Corporation under Transaction Reference No. 34 dated December 10, 2008.

RCBC Forex Brokers vice president Criselda Espinosa verbally admitted that Tiu did not make such purchase of foreign currency. 

"In fact, she (Espinosa) confirmed that there was no such transaction made by me or any of my companies," Tiu said.

The businessman also belied Abad’s allegations that he is Binay’s dummy because of the large amounts and frequency of transactions, involving several bank accounts under his name at a time his businesses were supposedly suffering losses or poor profits.

Tiu pointed out the transactions referred to by AMLC involved his companies including Greenenergy Holdings Incorporated, Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corporation, AgriNurture, and Earthright Holdings Incorporated.

The businessman said Greeenergy sold its 60% stake in Biomass Holdings Incorporated to global investment and advisory company Clean Tech Fund of Thomas Lloyd for P400.52 million in June 2014.

He added that Greenenergy bought 310 million shares in Sunchamp for P310 million in July 2014; while Earthright Holdings subscribed to preferred and common shares of Greenenergy that was partly paid for in cash worth P214.5 million.

"These three transactions alone, involving the aggregate amount of P925.02 million, justify the transfer of substantial amounts between several of my accounts," Tiu said in the complaint.

"Thus, Abad’s statements that I am a mere dummy are completely false and made in utter disregard of the truth," he added.

"Given the fact that these transactions were officially reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission and disclosed to the Philippine Stock Exchange as well, it is clear that respondent was deliberately and maliciously making false statements, in blatant violation of the law, in order to unlawfully acquire a freeze order," Tiu said.

Tiu owns 30 of the 242 bank accounts ordered frozen by the CA in May 2015 in reaction to a petition filed by the AMLC. (READ: Trillanes, media allowed to enter 'Hacienda Binay')

To date, about half of those 30 accounts remain frozen and are subject of a civil forfeiture case despite the fact that there are no pending criminal cases filed or pending against Tiu and his companies, his lawyers said.

Tiu was awarded the 2011 Ten Outstanding Young Men by President Benigno Aquino III and Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young in 2009. – Rappler.com