Cash amounting to 20 million Philippine pesos, believed to be part of the $81 million stolen from Bangladesh Bank’s account, was allegedly loaded into the vehicle of Maia Santos Deguito, the manager of the Jupiter Street branch of the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp (RCBC).
An eyewitness, former customer service head of the branch, reportedly made the startling disclosure on Thursday while deposing before a Senate committee of the Philippines, which is investigating the money laundering.
Romualdo Agarrado told the Senate blue ribbon committee that he personally saw the money, placed in a paper bag, being loaded into the car of Deguito on Feb 5, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.
Agarrado also told the probe committee that the money was withdrawn from the account of businessman William Go.
According to him, in the afternoon of Feb 5, the branch’s assistant manager, Angela Torres, requested 20 million pesos from the cash centre.
“Then around 5:30 in the afternoon, the armour car arrived from the cash centre…We counted the cash. It was P20 million as requested from the cash center,” the Inquirer quoted Agarrado as telling the Senate committee during the hearing.
Agarrado claimed he and Torres immediately transferred the money to the teller.
Businessman William Go has already denied ownership of the account from which the money was allegedly withdrawn.
Go had earlier claimed that his signature had been forged by Deguito.
The RCBC’s legal and regulatory affairs head Maria Cecilia Fernandez-Estavillo reportedly claimed that the bank in an internal investigation found that the account-opening documents and the withdrawal slips for the supposed Go accounts were to a “high degree of certainty” not signed by him, reported the Philippine’s Philstar newspaper.
Branch’s Assistant Manager Angela Torres, however, told the auditors of the bank that she saw Go signing the withdrawal slip himself.
In an interview with a local radio station, Torres claimed that she had resigned from the bank after allegedly being grilled by bank auditors, officers and lawyers.
Philstar said Torres in the interview claimed that Go had come to the bank in a Lexus SUV and that she was familiar with him because he had withdrawn money from the branch before.
The Inquirer, meanwhile, reported that senators held a closed-door meeting on Thursday to hear the testimony of Deguito.
It said Deguito had been requesting the Senate blue ribbon committee to hear her testimony in an executive session.
The committee finally acceded to her request after Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile moved to cite the branch manager in contempt for refusing to answer his question – whether or not there was a threat to her life after she was embroiled in the controversy, according to the newspaper report.
This was after Agarrado earlier quoted Deguito as saying that “I’d rather do this than me being killed or my family”.
Agarrado said Deguito made the remark in front of him and assistant branch manager Angela Torres in the morning of Feb 9.
Deguito reportedly denied making such statement, saying she was willing to tell all in an executive session.
Source: Bd news24