Kam Sin Wong, described as a president and general manager of Eastern Hawaii Leisure Co Ltd, a casino operator in the northern Philippines, turned over to Philippine authorities on Thursday part of the US$81 million allegedly stolen from Bangladesh’s central bank.
Lawyers for Mr Kim Wong – also known as Kim Wong – delivered US$4.63 million to the offices of the Philippines’ Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) at the country’s central bank headquarters.
The money was turned over in a suitcase and the authorities had to use money-counting machines to verify the amount and to check that each US$100 note was real, reported local media. Mr Wong’s lawyer declined to comment on whether the cash was withdrawn from a bank or if it came from the private residence of his client.
Mr Wong had pledged to hand over the money at a hearing at the Philippine Senate on Tuesday. The hearing was seeking to find out how at least US$81 million – that unidentified hackers allegedly stole from Bangladesh central bank accounts held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York – entered the Philippines and mostly disappeared.
According to local media reports, Bangladesh’s Ambassador to Manila, John Gomes, witnessed the handing in of the funds. He told reporters that Bangladesh investigators would be coming to Manila to assist in efforts to recoup more of the stolen funds.
Several Chinese people connected to casinos and casino junket business in either the Philippines or Macau have been drawn into the inquiry.
On Tuesday, Mr Wong told the Senate hearing that he had neither knowledge nor any participation in the entry of allegedly stolen funds to the Philippines via Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Part of the funds found its way into the Midas Hotel and Casino in Manila, a property majority-owned by Leisure and Resorts World Corp; and Solaire Resort and Casino in Entertainment City, a property developed and operated by Bloomberry Resorts Corp.
Mr Wong blamed two other Chinese men – named as Gao Shu Hua and Ding Zhize – for causing the money to be imported. He said he was willing to return as much as US$14.3 million he received from the two Chinese nationals.
A member of the Philippines’ AMLC told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that Mr Wong’s action did not make him less accountable for assisting in the alleged money laundering case.
The AMLC has already filed a criminal complaint naming a junket operator called Xu Weikang and Cagayan-based Chinese businessman Mr Wong for alleged involvement in money laundering. Mr Wong denies such involvement.
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China