Press Release
April 25, 2016


THE Senate Blue Ribbon Committee probe on the $81-M money laundering scheme is set to resume on the 12th of May 2016, Thursday to reconcile conflicting testimonies among the parties involved and to get more details on where all the stolen money went, given that $17 million in cash remains unaccounted for.

According to Blue Ribbon Chairman and Senator Teofisto "TG" Guingona III, the Senate inquiry is far from over as additional hearings are still needed to help the committee finish its recommendations for improvements to existing banking and anti-money laundering laws.

The reelectionist senator also said his committee still needs to ferret out the whole truth and to get a clearer and more accurate picture of how $81 million in stolen funds were brought into the country and laundered here, and where all the money went after.

Guingona noted that the committee's 7th public hearing was set back by the failure of the lawyers of key witnesses Kim Wong, Maia Deguito and PhilRem to promptly submit their respective waivers on the disclosure of their phone records.

"During the April 19 hearing, these three parties, Wong, Deguito, and PhilRem, have given the committee their verbal consent to look into their phone records between February 5 and 13. But as of today, none of their lawyers have submitted waivers allowing Globe to furnish us with these information," Guingona stated.

Guingona's committee has summoned the phone records in question following the conflicting statements of Wong, Deguito, and the Bautista couple of PhilRem on who called whom during the deliveries of laundered stolen funds.

The parties have given conflicting testimonies at the Senate, particularly on $17 million in cash that PhilRem claimed to have delivered to Chinese national Weikang Xu at Solaire casino in the presence of Wong, but which Wong claimed to have never received.

"We are still waiting to have the waivers and the phone records. By the time we resume the probe, we would have already compared who is telling the truth," Guingona maintained.

Testimonies and pieces of evidence presented during the Senate hearings can be used by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) in filing criminal suits against those involved in the laundering scheme, as well as in civil forfeiture cases for the recovery of the stolen funds and their return to Bangladesh.

The next session is also set to hear the statement of PhilRem's accountant, who has already resigned according to PhilRem president Salud Bautista. The accountant has been asked to appear after the April 12 hearing but remained incognito until the April 19 hearing was suspended.

"The committee also expects PhilRem to have produced their accountant by then. Otherwise, they will be cited for contempt," Guingona warned.

To date, the Blue Ribbon committee has traced how most of the $81 million came into the country on February 5, 2016 and how large amounts have been disbursed to casinos using numerous bank accounts, including allegedly fictitious accounts. However, the committee has yet to determine who received and kept about $17 million delivered by PhilRem in cash.

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