Chinese casino boss and junket operator in the Philippines, Kim Wong, has turned over $5 million, in what is believed to be stolen funds, to the Anti-Money Laundering Council.
The money is the fourth and final payment of a total of approximately $81 million stolen from the Bangladesh central bank. According to Reuters, in early February money was stolen from the Bangladesh Bank’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York by unidentified hackers and funneled to casinos and gambling agents in the Philippines through a Manila branch of the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp (RCBC).
A Senate inquiry led to the recovery of approximately $5.5 million from Wong, who received almost $35 million in total through his casino company and the foreign exchange broker, Philrem. The $81 million was distributed by Philrem to Bloomberry Resorts Corp, the owner and operator of the upmarket Solaire casino in Manila, as well as the Eastern Hawaii Leisure Company, which Wong owns, and to a man believed to be a junket operator in Manila. Wong denied any involvement in the heist and said that he was unaware of the source of the funds because junket operators are not bound by the same rules regarding client identity as casinos are. A total of $9.7 million has now been returned by Wong.
While a total of $81 million was stolen, the hackers who successfully infiltrated the computer systems of Bangladesh Bank attempted to steal $951 million from its New York Fed account but most transactions were blocked.
Wong apparently came to possess the funds as a debt repayment from junket agent Gao Shuhua, according to Asia Gaming Brief. Wong also said that Solaire Resort & Casino loaned him cash to help him pay back a portion of the money and the remainder was borrowed from well-meaning friends.