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Lorenzo Tan, president and chief executive officer of the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp (RCBC). AFP file photo

BB Heist: RCBC chief quits taking moral responsibility

WT24 Desk

Taking the moral responsibility for Bangladesh Bank’s reserve heist, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp (RCBC) President and CEO Lorenzo Tan has resigned giving the board a free hand in directing the course of the bank’s future, UNB reports

The RCBC accepted the resignation of Tan as President and CEO of the Yuchengco-controlled financial institution effective immediately, reports Philippine Daily Inquirer quoting a bank statement as saying.

RCBC, however, cleared Tan of any wrongdoing, saying an internal investigation into the $81-million money laundering caper “had cleared [him] of any breach of bank rules and policies.” “He resigned to give the board a free hand in directing the course of the bank’s future,” RCBC said.

In a separate statement, Tan said that “despite having been cleared of any wrongdoing, as president and CEO of RCBC, I take full moral responsibility for this sad incident in the history of the bank.” “With a heavy heart, I feel the time has come for me to move on and provide my services elsewhere,” he added.

Until his replacement is announced, Helen Yuchengco-Dee will oversee the bank’s operations, as president and CEO, supported by a management team composed of RCBC vice chair Cesar EA Virata, director Armando Medina and the current group of senior managers.

Tan was implicated in the issue after the bank’s former Jupiter Street branch manager Maia Deguito said he asked her to “take care” of valued client Kim Wong, a casino junket operator whose Chinese client was said to have brought in funds that were later found to have been stolen from the Bangladeshi central bank.

Tan has denied this accusation, and filed civil and criminal cases against Deguito and her lawyer for libel and perjury. Tan joined RCBC in 2007, overseeing the expansion of RCBC’s network from 294 branches in 2006 to 475 as of March 2016; ATMs, from 257 to 1,405; and customer base from 800 thousand to 7.32 million.

Last year, RCBC posted a net income of P5.1 billion, up 16.3 percent from 2014. In a statement, Tan expressed his gratitude to the shareholders, officers and customers of RCBC. “As I move on to new things, I am confident the bank will continue on the path of growth, with the strong and capable hands of senior management led by Dee,” he said.

RCBC’s investigation headed by its external lawyers and SGV & Co. cleared Tan of any knowledge, involvement or participation in the unauthorized transfer to RCBC of the funds stolen from Bangladesh Bank.

“As shown by RCBC’s own investigation, the allegations of my involvement in the current money-laundering issue are unfounded and baseless.” Tan added, “Despite my resignation, however, I am committed to help uncover the truth, not only to clear my name but also to bring justice to the Bangladeshi people.”

An earlier disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange showed that RCBC’s total deposits declined 7 percent to P317.4 billion as of end-March from P342.5 billion at end-2015, representing a decline of P25.1 billion at the height of the money laundering scandal.

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