Philippine Bank President Quits Amid Heist Scandal

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The cyberheist scandal that hit a large Philippine bank, in connection with a $81 million theft, claimed a victim last week.

The president of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC), Lorenzo Tan, said he would resign even as he was absolved of any wrongdoing in connection with the case, Reuters reported on Friday (May 6).

The official submitted his resignation the week prior, and it became official on Friday, the newswire reported. The bank itself has been the focus of a Senate investigation into the cyberheist and money laundering event, in which $81 million was siphoned from the central bank of Bangladesh’s account, which is housed at the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The funds were then pushed out to one of RCBC’s branches, said authorities.

Upon announcing his resignation from RCBC, Tan stated: “I take full moral responsibility for this sad incident in the history of the bank.” Tan is being succeeded by bank Chairwoman Helen Dee, who will serve as president and CEO until the appointment of a new president. The bank itself, said Reuters, is partly owned by a subsidiary of Cathay Financial Holding and is among the top 10 of the country’s biggest lenders, as measured in terms of assets.

The Philippine Senate will return to its probe of the theft, looking into how the money ultimately wound up with a number of casinos and gambling firms based in Manila. Of the $81 million, $15 million has been recovered from a Chinese casino head. But one hurdle, noted Reuters, has been the fact that banking legislation does not cover casinos, and therefore, information cannot be compelled to be handed over from those operations.