The Court of Appeals has affirmed its decision that lifted the asset preservation orders on a Chinese casino and its owner and two other people accused of laundering money from the $81 million stolen from the Bangladesh central bank. 

In a two-page resolution dated Aug. 2, the appellate court said it was not swayed by the Anti-Money Laundering Council’s (AMLC) appeal to reconsider its ruling. 

“The motion thus fails to present any new and substantial matter, or any cogent and compelling reason which would justify reconsideration of the court’s ruling,” Associate Justice Fernanda Lampas-Peralta said. 

An asset preservation order is a remedy used by the state to preserve assets related to unlawful activity during civil forfeiture cases. 

The appellate court earlier ruled that a Manila trial court did not abuse its discretion in lifting the asset preservation order on the bank accounts of casino owner Kim Sin Wong, who owns Eastern Hawaii Leisure Co. Ltd. And Qiaoqiao Wendy Wang and Dong Na Xu since these were opened before the hacking of Bangladesh Bank’s account with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in 2016. 

The court also said the casino owner and his company acted in good faith by returning $4.63 million and $488.28 million to the council. 

It said the AMLC had failed to prove that the bank accounts were opened to receive stolen funds. 

“All told, the trial court did not gravely abuse its discretion in granting the private respondents’ motions to discharge the asset preservation orders.” — JVDO