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Philippines cancels license of remittance firm after Bangladesh heist probe

By Reuters   June 1, 2016 | 02:21 am PT
The Philippine central bank said on Wednesday it had revoked the license of a remittance company that anti-money laundering investigators said was used to transfer some of the $81 million hackers looted from the Bangladesh central bank.

The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) issued a complaint against Philrem Service Corporation on April 28, accusing it of creating a fog around transactions and washing the stolen funds via a web of transfers and currency conversions through Philippine bank accounts, before moving the cash through casinos in Manila and junket operators.

Philrem has denied wrongdoing.

Unidentified hackers infiltrated the computers at Bangladesh Bank, the central bank, in early February and tried to transfer some $951 million from its account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

All but one of the 35 attempted transfers were to the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp in the Philippines. Most were blocked, but $81 million went to four accounts, held in fictitious names, at a RCBC branch in Manila.

The central bank also cancelled two other remittance agents' licenses, citing "significant violations" of anti-money laundering rules without elaborating further. 

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