Senate ends probe into Bangladesh Bank heist

The Philippine Senate has ended its investigation into the laundering of $81 million stolen from the Bangladesh Central Bank last Thursday, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The decision to end the inquiry came despite progress in the investigation, which saw casino junket operator Kim Wong turn over $15 million to the Anti-Money-Laundering Council. Senators were still working on finding another $17 million.

Wong faces a criminal complaint for allegedly violating laws against money laundering, but denies doing anything illegal as he did not know the money was stolen.

According to WSJ, John Gomes, the Bangladesh ambassador to the Philippines said the termination of the investigation would hinder the government’s progress in recovering the stolen funds.

After Thursday’s hearing, Sen. Teofisto Guingona chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee told Mr. Gomes that Philippine government agencies will continue with the investigation and eventual criminal prosecution of suspects.

Guingona said the committee members no longer have time to pursue the hearings, especially starting next week when Congress starts to canvass the votes for president and vice president.