CA orders freeze of 41 bank accounts



By Rey G. Panaligan
The Court of Appeals (CA), on request of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), has ordered a freeze for 20 days on the 41 bank accounts of an overseas employment agency on charges of illegal recruitment.
Ordered frozen were the bank accounts of the Makati City Base International Students Advisors 4U, Inc. (ISA 4U) that specializes on a “study and work program” for Filipino nurses and other professionals for deployment in the United Kingdom.
The CA identified the accounts of ISA 4U as those in the Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. (Metrobank), Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp. (HSBC), Banco De Oro (BDO), Philippine Savings Bank (PSB), Citibank, and Union Bank.
In a resolution written by Associate Justice Japar Dimaampao, the CA said that “…the obtaining facts and circumstances tellingly demonstrate a well-founded belief that the bank accounts in the names of respondents are related to or involved in an unlawful activity or money laundering offense.”
The freeze order, the CA explained, would prevent the banking institutions from allowing ISA 4U to withdraw, transfer, or deplete the existing funds in the accounts.
The banks were directed to submit to the CA and to AMLC a detailed return within 24 hours from receipt of the resolution stating compliance with the freeze order and specifying relevant information on the bank accounts.
The CA set a hearing on the AMLC’s request at 2 p.m. on May 5 “to determine whether or not the instant freeze order should be modified, lifted or extended.”
ISA 4U was charged with illegal recruitment in a complaint filed by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG).
The PNP-CIDG said ISA 4U is a domestic corporation engaged in providing advisory, marketing consultancy services of training courses, college courses and university courses of other foreign countries. - via www.mb.com.ph

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