Press Release
March 30, 2016

Recto: Gov't may recover $34 million in Bangladesh cyberheist loot

If Philippine authorities will only act swiftly, they may still recover more than 40 percent, about $34-million, of the $81-million loot that was stolen by hackers from Bangladesh Bank.

The possibility of recovering the loot, according to Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, loomed after the Senate discovered that not all the $81 million stolen from Bangladesh were laundered successfully through Philippine casinos.

 "While the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee is solving this great puzzle, our law enforcement agencies must act swiftly to recover any portion of the loot that is still within Philippine soil," Recto said in an interview with DZMM.

 "There is a chance that we can recover $34 million if local authorities will zero in on the paper trail established during the Senate hearings," he added. Under intense grilling from Recto, casino junket operator Kim Wong admitted on Tuesday that only about $61 million of the $81 million cyberheist loot found its way to Philippine casinos.

About $17 million, Wong said, are still with Philrem Corp., the remittance firm responsible for transferring the stolen money from Rizal Banking Commercial Corporation (RCBC) to different accounts and individuals.

Wong told Recto and other senators that he is ready to surrender to Philippine authorities the entire P450 million or about $10 million that his firm, Eastern Hawaii Leisure Co. Ltd., received as part of the cyberheist loot.

Wong admitted that a total of P1 billion went to his firm, but P550 million of the amount was given to casino players who already lost the money to baccarat games.

Wong also announced during the last Senate hearing that he is willing to return even the total amount of P1 billion if Philippine authorities will request him to do so.

Aside from the $17 million allegedly with Philrem and the $10 million with Wong, Recto noted that almost $7 million of the stolen money had been traced and may be recovered from casino accounts.

"Ang mahalaga, makuha ang lahat ng pera na puwede pang ibalik sa Bangladesh dahil alam natin na galing sa mahihirap ng bansang ito ang ninakaw na pera," Recto said.

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