CASINO

Junket operator returns $5.3M of heisted Bangladeshi funds

TAGs: junket operators, Philippines

Casino junket operator Kam Sin ‘Kim’ Wong has delivered on his promise to return all the money that his firm got from the millions that was stolen from Bangladeshi central bank accounts, local media reported.

Junket operator returns $5.3M of heisted Bangladeshi fundsOn Wednesday, Wong turned over some PHP250 million (US$5.30 million) to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), according to the Business Mirror. The amount represents the fourth and last tranche of the PHP450 million (US$9.54 million) that the businessman has promised Philippine lawmakers he will return.

Wong, a Chinese junket operator residing in the Philippines, has turned over $4.63 million and PHP488 million (US$10.34 million) in cash to the AMLC before May 5—the self-imposed deadline he made during a Senate hearing last April 15.

The businessman said it wasn’t easy to come up with the money, especially since most of his personal and corporate accounts were frozen. Wong admitted that most of the money were from “well-meaning friends” who helped him raise the funds.

“The first PHP200 million (US$4.24 million) came from Solaire. I paid them earlier for a debt I owed and they lent me the same amount again,” Wong said, according to the report.

If you’re just joining us, February saw hackers steal $101 million from Bangladeshi bank accounts in New York, of which $81 million was transferred to a branch of Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation in Manila. From there, the money was reportedly withdrawn through remittance firm Philrem Services Inc before it was funneled through the local casino industry by two Chinese junket operators.

Wong identified the two junket agents as Gao Shu Hua from Beijing and Ding Zhi Ze from Macau. Wong said his role in the transfers was as an interpreter when the two men opened the accounts using the heist money.

Wong further claimed that $17 million is still with Philrem, which the company’s executives continue to deny to this day.

RCBC, on the other hand, has promised to repay—an estimated $50 million, according to a senator—if it was “found liable” for having failed to exercise proper due diligence in determining the legitimacy of the funds that flowed through the bank.

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