A Philippine money exchange company that converted into pesos a portion of the US$81 million stolen from the central bank of Bangladesh apologized to the ambassador of the South Asian nation and offered to return all the proceeds it made from the transaction.
Speaking before a senate panel investigating the cyber robbery and money laundering case, Philrem Services Inc. president Salud Bautista said on Thursday her firm would issue a check worth 10.47 million pesos (US$226,500) in the name of the government of Bangladesh representing her company’s earnings from the deal, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.
“We are sorry,” Bautista said, adding that Philrem did not know the funds were stolen from Bangladesh at the time of the transaction.
“We will return P10,474,654 to the Bangladeshis not just as a sign of apology, but as symbol of a Filipino company willing to find justice,” she said.
The check would be issued as soon as Bangladesh Bank confirmed who the payee would be, Bautista added.
Senator Serge Osmena III, one of the senate investigators, said PhilRem’s decision to return the money does not preclude the filing of charges against the company by the country’s anti-money laundering agency, news website InterAksyon reported.
The US$81 million was part of the money that hackers stole from the account that Bangladesh held with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Bautista told the Senate blue ribbon committee that US$15 million was remitted to PhilRem from a Philippine bank account of a certain Enrico Teodoro Vasquez, one of the four individuals identified as owners of dollar accounts where the stolen money was transferred, the website said.
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