RCBC fires bank manager, ex-assistant; eyes sanctions vs others
MANILA, Philippines – Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) announced on Tuesday, March 22, that it has fired bank manager Maia Santos-Deguito and senior customer relations officer Angela Torres for alleged illegal transactions linked to the $81-million Bangladesh bank heist.
"RCBC has terminated Maia Deguito and Angela Torres, the top two officials of the bank's Jupiter branch, for violating bank policies and procedures and falsification of commercial documents," RCBC Legal and Regulatory Affairs Head Maria Celia Estavillo said in a statement.
Estavillo said appropriate charges will be filed against the two in court by next week.
"Other branch and bank officials are expected to be meted out various sanctions ranging from termination to suspension in the coming days when the internal investigation is expected to be completed," she added.
Torres used to be the assistant branch manager at the RCBC Jupiter branch in Makati, which has been linked to the laundering of funds stolen from Bangladesh bank. (READ: $81-M bank heist money trail hits dead end in casinos)
RCBC alleged that the "breaches" in policies and regulations committed by Deguito and Torres "facilitated the alleged laundering of $81 million of remittance that is now being investigated by the Senate and other government agencies."
At the second Senate hearing on the biggest money laundering incident recorded in Philippine history on March 17, Estavillo had said that the bank would file perjury charges against Torres for allegedly lying in an affidavit she submitted to bank officials.
Torres had said in her affidavit that P20 million was loaded into the car of businessman William Go, the alleged holder of one of 4 accounts at RCBC Jupiter used for the money laundering scheme. (READ: Timeline: Tracing the $81-million stolen fund from Bangladesh Bank)
At the Senate hearing, however, former RCBC Jupiter customer service head Romualdo Agarrado testified that he saw the money being loaded into the car of Deguito, and that the branch manager left with the money. He also claimed that she tried to bribe him. (READ: RCBC manager: 'I'd rather release money than get myself killed')
Agarrado had described Torres as Deguito's "right hand."
RCBC lawyers discovered that Go's signature had been forged, and that the concerned account does not belong to him.
The Senate blue ribbon committee will conduct its third hearing on the multi-million-dollar money-laundering case on March 29. – Rappler.com