RIZAL Commercial Banking Corp. paid on Friday half of the P1-billion penalty imposed by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas for its involvement in the $81-million money laundering scam in February this year.
Bangko Sentral Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. confirmed in a text message to Manila Standard the payment of P500 million. “Yes, they paid [to the BSP] today,” he said. Espenilla added the other half would be paid next year.
RCBC did not issue an official statement on the payment.
RCBC said earlier it would comply with Monetary Board by paying P1 billion to the Bangko Sentral. The bank said it would pay the amount in two equal tranches over a one-year period, P500 million upon approval by the Monetary Board and P500 million one year after.
Senate investigations earlier revealed that the $81-million was stolen by cyber thieves from the account of Bank of Bangladesh in Federal Reserve in New York. The illegal funds entered the Philippine financial system through a branch of RCBC on Jupiter Street in Makati City. The dirty money later ended up in local casinos and laundered by a number of individuals.
Then president and chief executive Lorenzo Tan resigned from his post at the height of the investigation. He was succeeded in June by Gil Buenaventura.
The Bangko Sentral said the penalty affirmed its strong commitment to ensure the stability of the country’s financial system through strong and effective regulation of its supervised financial institutions.
Buenaventura said the bank has already made provisions for the payment. Buenaventura added “together with the payment of this amount, RCBC is instituting changes in its AML system and processes, making it among the most prepared in terms of thwarting money laundering attempts in the Philippines and the region.”