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Banking

Wirecard: Philippines’ anti-money laundering chief explains the investigation

Attorney Mel Georgie Racela runs the Anti-Money Laundering Council Secretariat in the Philippines, one of two agencies tasked with getting to the bottom with the country’s involvement in the Wirecard scandal. He talks to Chris Wright.

Mel-Georgie-Racela-AMLC-340.jpg

Can you bring me up to date with what you’ve established so far about how the Wirecard situation links to the Philippines?

First, the statement from the governor [Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas governor Benjamin Diokno, also the AMLC chairman] that none of the missing $2.1 billion ever entered the Philippine financial system, this statement holds true until now.

The two banks mentioned in newspaper reports [BDO Unibank and Bank of the Philippine Islands] have both denied having relationships with Wirecard; they stated that they have informed Wirecard’s external auditor, Ernst & Young, that the documents attesting to the presence of the supposed funds are spurious; and lastly they declared that they have dismissed the junior officers involved in the issuance of these spurious documents.

Coming from Wirecard itself, it admitted that the missing $2.1 billion may not have existed at all.

So based on all those established facts, it appears from the initial elaborate case of searching for the very huge amount of money, it came down to a case involving rogue bank employees engaging in criminal activity in exchange for financial gain.

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