MANILA, Philippines – Casino junket agent Kam Sin “Kim” Wong delivered $4.63 million to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) office at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) headquarters in Manila.
Wong, in the Senate hearing last Tuesday, March 29, vehemently denied knowledge of the money-laundering scheme. (READ: $951M stolen money would have gone to RCBC)
Wong told the Senate panel that two other junket operators – Ding Zhize and Gao Shuhua – facilitated the entry of the laundered money into Philippine casinos.
His company Eastern Hawaii Leisure Company Limited got hold of P1 billion or $21.575 million of the stolen funds.
Of the P1 billion, Wong took P450 million as Gao’s debt payment, while P550 million went through the gaming tables. He said P510 million of that amount was lost to Midas Hotel and Casino.
During the hearing, Wong said he is willing turn over some $4.63 million left under the junket operations.
In an ambush interview with Inocencio Ferrer, Wong’s legal counsel, he said AMLC Executive Director Julia Bacay-Abad received the amount surrendered by his client on Thursday, March 31.
Ferrer added the amount was in $100 denominations and in 46 bundles of $1,000. (READ: $951M stolen money would have gone to RCBC)
Each bundle was counted and validated inside the AMLC office and witnessed by Bangladesh ambassador to the Philippines John Gomes and second secretary Probash Lamarong, Ferrer said.
Insurance Commission chief Emmanuel Dooc and other BSP officials also witnessed the turnover of the amount.
The counting and validation took more than two and a half hours, using several counting machines.
According to Ferrer, it was impossible and would likely take several days to finish counting the amount manually.
The counting started 3:30 pm and ended at 6:00 pm.
The surrendered amount was loaded into an armored vehicle of the BSP and transported to the BSP vault.
“Today, Kim Wong kept his promise to the Senate blue ribbon committee to return the $4.63-million in his casino to the AMLC for later transmittal to the Bangladesh central bank,” Ferrer said.
“We thank Senator Teofisto Guingona Jr, chairman of the Senate blue ribbon committee, for making this turnover possible. We also thank the AMLC and BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr for graciously accommodating our request for the AMLC to be the temporary repository of these funds prior to its return to the people of Bangladesh,” Ferrer added.
Earlier, Wong testified before the Senate blue ribbon committee that he had neither knowledge nor participation in the entry and transmittal of stolen funds to the Philippines via RCBC which eventually ended up in Midas and Solaire casinos.
Ferrer went further and said “the stature of the Philippines in the world community has been restored today.”
The Senate blue ribbon committee will conduct its fourth hearing on the Bangladesh Bank fund heist on Tuesday, April 5. – Rappler.com