The Regional Trial Court of Manila has ordered the release of the $15 million to the Bangladeshi government earlier surrendered by casino junket operator Kim Wong and forefeited in favor of the government.
The amount is part of the $81 million funds stolen by hackers from their bank and laundered to the country.
DoJ chief state counsel Ricardo Paras III said Manila RTC Executive Judge Reynaldo Alhambra granted their pleading seeking the release of the money in a resolution issued last September 16.
The money is currently being kept in the vault of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
“Wherefore... the court hereby grants the petition and hereby declares the Bangladesh Bank of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh to be the rightful owner of the amount totaling $4,630,000 and P488,280,000 that were forfeited and kept in the vault of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) pursuant to the order of this court dated July 7, 2016,” the order stated.
Paras noted that the court declared the Bangladesh government to be the rightful owner of the said amount.
With the court order, the DoJ official said the Embassy of Bangladesh in the country may now coordinate with the BSP for the turnover of the amount.
Paras noted that it was the DoJ that represented the Bangladesh government as counsel in this case after Bangladeshi officials sought legal assistance from the government under the UN convention on transnational organized crime.
“Let the aforementioned forfeited amount... be released in favor of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh,” the order said.
Paras noted that the court proceedings for the release of the amount took only about two months since there was no opposition to government’s petition.