By Luz Wendy T. Noble, Reporter

UNIONBANK of the Philippines, Inc. has pressed charges against persons involved in a fraud incident where the bank was among financial institutions that received unauthorized fund transfers from accounts of some BDO Unibank, Inc. clients.

“As the next step, we have actually filed cases for these perpetrators that we have identified and we’re working still very closely with all the regulators and BDO to make sure that the issue is closed and the perpetrators are brought to justice,” Albert Raymond C. Cuadrante, senior vice-president and chief marketing officer at UnionBank, said in an online interview on Thursday.

Pressed for details, UnionBank Chief Information Security Officer and Vice-President Jose Paulo G. Rufo said investigations are still ongoing.

UnionBank officials earlier said they had identified six persons of interest involved in the fraudulent transactions.

“The cases filed were for the first four. New set of cases are being prepared for the other two recipients,” Mr. Rufo said in a Viber message.

Earlier this month, individuals claiming to be account holders of BDO posted on social media that their funds were supposedly transferred to the UnionBank account of a certain Mark Nagoyo. UnionBank officials earlier said the name was likely fictitious as they do not have an account holder with that identity.

Mr. Cuadrante also reiterated that UnionBank was “never hacked” in relation to the incident.

“We were just one of the 11 recipient accounts of this fiasco. So, we continue to make sure we fortify our cybersecurity measures and it’s a high priority for us,” Mr. Cuadrante said.

BDO earlier said it had already processed about 700 claims of clients that were affected by the incident.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has formed a task force dedicated to investigate the incident. Central bank officials said they are checking whether there were gaps in the security measures of the involved financial institutions.

In the third quarter, UnionBank’s net earnings declined by 43% year on year to P2.395 billion from P4.211 billion on the back of lower income streams as well as higher operating expenses and credit provisioning, based on its financial report.

Its nine-month net profit increased by 26% to P10.71 billion from P8.482 billion in the same period of 2020.

On Tuesday, its shares closed at P101.80 each, down by 50 centavos or 0.49% from its previous finish.