CRIME | STOLEN MONEY ALLEGEDLY ‘LAUNDERED’ IN PHILIPPINE CASINOS
MONDAY, MARCH 14, 2016
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), the country’s gaming regulator, has announced the preliminary findings of its inquiry into alleged money laundering, according to media reports.
The story begins in Bangladesh, a country of about 170 million people that’s recently found itself with record foreign reserves thanks to a low wage-fueled export boom and inward remittances. Some of those reserves were held in an account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith last week accused the Fed of “irregularities” that led to the unauthorized transfer of USD100 million from the account. The Bangladesh central bank said the funds had been stolen by hackers and that some had been traced to the Philippines.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted an unknown PAGCOR official as saying that the inquiry revealed that “USD46 million of a reported USD81 million in stolen Bangladeshi funds that entered the Philippines found its way into the local casino industry. The rest of the funds never entered the local casino system. So, we don’t know where those funds went.”
Philippine authorities believe that the USD46 million that entered the gaming system was split into two different groups, including a USD26 million tranche that entered the Solaire Resort and Casino, an integrated resort owned by Bloomberry Resorts. A second tranche of USD20 million allegedly made its way to the Eastern Hawaii Casino and Resort.
The accounts holding the laundered money have reportedly been frozen by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC). RM