The Philippine financial system is “sound” and “very strict” rules are in place when it comes to the issuance of bank certifications, the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) assured in the midst of controversy relating to beleaguered German fintech Wirecard.
“Some individuals may try to forge or falsify these documents, but their authenticity can be readily ascertained through careful scrutiny or verification by the appropriate institutions,” the BAP said in a press statement on Tuesday.
“We encourage the public to practice due diligence in receiving certifications and documents from third parties by having them validated by the issuing bank,” it added.
The BAP said it continued to work with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and other government agencies to improve local banking processes.
Member-banks are likewise “regularly and proactively strengthening security checks and systems to ensure integrity at every level,” the group said.
The search for Wirecard’s $2.1 billion “missing” funds earlier turned to the Philippines due to spurious documents alleging that the German firm had assets stashed in two local banks. Both BDO Unibank and Bank of the Philippine Islands declared that the documents were fake and that no financial transaction had ever taken place.
Each bank reported that one rouge junior employee was responsible for issuing the bogus certifications.
Wirecard afterwards said the money likely did not exist.
Nonetheless, the Philippine Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) is investigating the matter. Reuters reported that AMLC was now looking at local firms which were “entities of interest:” Centurion Online Payment International, PayEasy Solutions and ConePay International.