Politics

Philippine DoJ indicts BPI official for involvement in Wirecard fraud

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REUTERS

GOVERNMENT prosecutors have indicted an assistant manager of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) over his alleged involvement in a financial fraud at German payment company Wirecard AG, the Department of Justice (DoJ) said on Thursday.

The bank official was charged with four counts of falsification of bank certificates and two counts of violating the General Banking Act of 2010, it said.

DoJ added that it had dropped charges against other suspects for lack of evidence. It had yet to publish a copy of the charge sheet.

Under the law, bank officials are barred from making false entries in bank reports.

The Southeast Asian nation became embroiled in the collapse of Wirecard in June 2020, with the payment company initially claiming it had kept $2.1 billion in two Philippine banks, which the central bank and the lenders denied.

In 2020, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said the money related to the incident did not enter the country, citing the country’s “strong financial oversight” against possible threats.

The Anti-Money Laundering Council in September 2020 said authorities were investigating 57 foreign and local “persons of interest” potentially involved in the scandal.

In June, global financial crime watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) kept the Philippines on its gray list, citing the need to strengthen its action plan to address deficiencies in monitoring “dirty money” risks. — John Victor D. Ordoñez