CA confirms lifting of preservation orders against bank accounts of junket casino operator Kim Wong – Manila Bulletin

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Court of Appeal

THE Court of Appeals (CA) upheld its decision which upheld the trial court’s decision which lifted asset preservation orders (APOs) issued against the bank accounts of junket casino operator Kam Sin Wong, known as Kim Wong, a firm and two other people suspected that the money was laundered from the $81 million stolen by Bangladesh Bank hackers in 2016.

In a two-page resolution authored by Associate Justice Fernanda Lampas Peralta, the CA upheld its April 29, 2022 decision by denying the motion for reconsideration filed by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

The CA said:

“Once again, the Court has made a careful and thoughtful consideration of the merits of the case, in light of the respective arguments of the Applicant (AMLC) in their motion for reconsideration of the Court’s decision dated April 29, 2022 , and private respondents (Wong, Eastern Hawaii Leisure Co., Ltd., Qioqiao Wendy Wang and Dong Na Xu) in their comment/objection to the motion.

“The Court need not reconsider. The issues raised in the Application had been considered, weighed and adopted by the Court in said decision.

“The application therefore presents no new and substantial element, nor any convincing and compelling reason which would justify the reconsideration of the Court’s decision.”

In its April 29 ruling, the CA found no serious abuse of power by the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) in granting the lifting of APOs on accounts with the Philippine National Bank (PNB). ) as she pointed out that “The trial court did not grossly abuse its discretion in granting the private respondents’ motions to revoke the APOs.”

Court records showed that the RTC had granted the motion of Kim Wong and his group to lift the APOs since opening the accounts with Allied Banking Corporation (now PNB) before the hacking of Bangladesh Bank’s bank account with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. .

The trial court said in its decision that the AMLC failed to prove that Wong and his group colluded with PhilRem Service Corporation in committing illegal activity and that they had prior knowledge that the billion pesos paid by the latter into their accounts belonged to the Bangladesh Bank. .

He also pointed out that the handover to the AMLC by Kim Wong and Eastern Hawaii Leisure Co. Ltd. of 4.6 million dollars and 488.28 million pesos was a demonstration of their good faith.

The issuance of the APOs stems from the AMLC’s filing of a civil forfeiture petition before the Manila RTC in 2016 to recover stolen funds from the Bangladesh Bank.

In its April 29 decision, the CA said:

“Regarding the assertion that the respondent trial court committed a gross abuse of power in granting APO’s motions for discharge because there was ‘probable cause that the private defendants’ bank accounts were linked to the illegal pirating activity”, suffice it to say that the main case is still pending before the respondent trial court.

“This case is the proper proceeding to elucidate whether there is probable cause that the private defendants’ bank accounts were linked to the unlawful activity of hacking, among other things.”

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