Press Release
April 1, 2016

Recto: Recovery of $4.6M cyberheist loot just 'buena mano'

Buena mano.

That was how Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto described the move of casino junket operator Kim Wong to return to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) $4.6 million of laundered money from Bangladesh.

"May Kim Wong's act serve as buena mano. That is $4.6 million down. $30.26 million more to go. It's a good example for others to follow," Recto said.

Buena mano is a Spanish phrase that literally means "good hand." In Philippine business practice, buena mano means the first sale of the day, which is believed to bring good luck to the business for the rest of the day.

Recto expressed optimism that Wong's return of a portion of the $81 million stolen by hackers from Bangladesh Bank will pave the way for the recovery of other accounts where the loot was diverted into.

Recto said as much as $34.86 million -- almost half of the sum stolen -- could be recovered from local corporations, based on testimonies made in three hearings conducted by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.

"The hunt for recoverable fruits of the Bangladesh cyberheist is gaining ground. The return of $4.6 million is a good start that augurs well in our quest to return the stolen money to its rightful owner, the Bangladesh people," Recto said.

The senator appealed to owners of Philrem Corp. to follow Wong's lead and voluntarily surrender whatever portion of the loot is left under their control.

"Siguro naman, susunod na ang Philrem at magsasauli na rin ng pera sa AMLC. Lahat ng puwede nilang isauli, dapat maibalik lahat sa Bangladesh," Recto stressed.

Recto said other corporations including local banks and financial houses must follow Kim Wong's lead.

"Kung si Kim Wong na mas maliit ang resources, nagsauli, ganoon din sana yung iba," Recto said. "Si Kim, hindi lang nag-sorry, may act of contrition pa."

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