Junket operator returns cash boosted from Bangladesh bank

Casino junket operator Kim Wong has completed the turnover to the Anti-Money Laundering Council of a further PHP 250 million, representing some of the funds stolen from the Bangladesh central bank and laundered through Philippine casinos.

The handover was the fourth and final tranche of funds that Wong says he unwittingly received from Chinese clients and pledged to return. He says he didn’t know the source of the funds as junket operators are not bound by the same know-your-client rules as casinos.

He has now returned a total of PHP450 million.

A total of $81 million was stolen, though the thieves had intended to take about $1 billion from the Bangladesh bank. They were stopped when a spelling mistake alerted authorities to the heist.

The funds came into Wong’s possession as a debt repayment from junket agent Gao Shuhua.

He also said he had been loaned cash by Solaire Resort & Casino to help pay back some of the money, while the rest was borrowed from well-meaning friends, according to local media reports.