RCBC treasurer quits amid probe into $81-M Bangladesh bank heist
MANILA, Philippines – The treasurer of Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) has resigned as Philippine authorities continue to probe the $81-million Bangladesh bank heist that has been linked to the Yuchengco-led bank.
RCBC senior vice president and corporate information officer Ma Christina Alvarez informed the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) about the resignation of Raul Victor Tan, the bank’s treasurer and executive vice president, which took effect on Wednesday, April 20.
RCBC has appointed Carlos Cesar Mercado as acting treasurer.
Lawyer Maria Celia Fernandez-Estavillo, RCBC legal and regulatory affairs head, said in a statement that the bank has "cleared" Tan "any involvement in the purported $81-million cyber heist."
This was based on an internal investigation carried out by RCBC.
"Out of decency and honor, and despite his lack of involvement in the same, he tendered his resignation because of command responsibility, as Deguito – whose culpability has been clearly and convincingly established – was under him," Estavillo said.
She was referring to sacked RCBC branch manager Maia Santos-Deguito, one of the central figures in the probe into the biggest money-laundering case recorded in the country.
Estavillo said Tan had previously offered to resign but was rejected by the bank. He "insisted that the offer already be accepted."
"Deguito...admitted to the Senate that she lied to Head Office to get the transaction approved, clearly showing that Head Office had no involvement in the same," she said.
Tan, who served the bank for 7 years, headed head of the Treasury Group and the Retail Banking Group.
RCBC cited Tan for his key role in growing treasury trading revenues to historic highs, which peaked at over P6 billion in 2012, as the head of the investment management team.
As head of the Retail Banking Group, RCBC said Tan raised low cost deposits of the retail bank to an average of 24% per annum, while booked consumer loan referrals moved up by 35% per year.
RCBC fired Jupiter branch manager Deguito and senior customer representative officer Angela Torres on March 22 for violating bank policies and procedures and falsification of commercial documents.
The bank alleged that Deguito and Torres’ breaches facilitated the laundering of the stolen $81 million, the subject of investigations conducted by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, the Anti Money Laundering Council (AMLC), and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
On March 23, RCBC president Lorenzo Tan also went on leave pending the investigation. Yuchengo’s eldest child, Helen Yuchengco Dee, has taken over the bank’s day-to-day operations together with a management team led by RCBC vice chairman Cesar EA Virata and Armando Medina.