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21 July 2017 - Senior executive at Philippine bank arrested for fraud
Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company (Metrobank)
Source -
Where - Philippines
Cost - 1,750,000,000 PHP
Business line - Commercial Banking

The Philippines’ Metropolitan Bank and Trust (Metrobank) has been swindled out of approximately US$34.5m (1.75bn pesos) by one of its own senior executives.

Metrobank vice-president, Maria Victoria Lopez, is accused of stealing the money from the credit facility of one of the bank’s largest clients, despite having worked for Metrobank for 30 years, earning a monthly salary of 250,000 pesos.

The Philippine’s National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) confirmed at a press conference that Lopez was arrested on Tuesday whilst attempting to move the stolen cash to a personal account.

The bank and authorities were quick to reassure customers that their funds were not compromised by the incident. NBI spokesman Ferdinand Lavin said: “The biggest loser of this is the integrity of the banking system.” He confirmed that Lopez would be charged with theft, banking law violations and falsification of documents.

“In the context of the bank's 1.9tn peso financial resources, rest assured that we continue to operate business as usual for the bank and our customers,” said a Metrobank spokesperson.

The client used by Lopez to draw the fraudulent loans is understood to be Universal Robina Corporation, a large food processing firm.

“We thank Metrobank president Fabian Dee for giving us heads-up advice on this unfortunate development and his assurance that URC will not be financially impacted in any way by this incident,” it said in a statement.

Stocks in Metrobank plummeted after news of the scandal broke, wiping almost US$300m of its share value.