Philippines' second largest bank to undergo investigation over laundering of USD 18m

Metro Bank announced that no customer has been affected by this incident.

Picture for representation
A worker counts one thousand pesos bills inside a money changer in Manila. Picture for representation Reuters

Philippine lawmakers called for a special session to plan out the conduct of a congressional investigation on the USD 18 million fraud report committed by a senior executive of Metro Bank, which is Philippine's second largest bank.

Lawmaker Ben Evardone told Philippine journalists that the Congress will investigate the transactions, which were allegedly facilitated by a senior bank executive, who disbursed loans to a fake client account.

Evardone said that this scam is very alarming because the money involved here belong to the depositors. He also said that they will invite Central Bank (Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas) officials and executives of Metrobank when they decide the date for the investigation.

The lawmaker also said that he is interested to know how did this scam happen and how come fake accounts were allowed to open in the bank.

The government's National Bureau and Investigation (NBI) earlier arrested Metrobank's vice president for corporate services, Maria Victoria Lopez, after a bank official alerted government authorities about the scam.

Lopez was allegedly involved in the creation of fake accounts and money from these accounts were electronically transferred to other accounts of different banks and eventually withdrawn by the suspects.

The Philippine media earlier reported that the bank could have lost US 24 million as a result of this scam. However, Metro Bank continues to say that no customer has been affected by this incident.

Meanwhile, Metro Bank immediately released a public statement that the Bank has P1.9 trillion financial resources and they continue to operate business as usual despite the reported scam.

When the news broke out, Metro Bank shares fell from P 87.35 to P 4.54 on Friday morning.