The Straits Times
Published on Dec 07, 2012

Court freezes bank accounts of Philippine tycoon


MANILA (REUTERS) - A court has ordered a temporary freeze on about 100 bank accounts linked to Philippine tycoon Roberto "Bobby" Ongpin, the country's ninth-richest man, following charges he obtained preferential loans, court documents show.

The order by the Court of Appeals, at the request of the government's Anti-Money Laundering Council, illustrates the growing reach of President Benigno Aquino's anti-corruption drive in a country long plagued by endemic graft.

Ongpin, 75, is a close friend of Jose Miguel "Mike" Arroyo, husband of former president Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo, who was arrested on Oct. 4 on charges of plunder, or high-level corruption, during her 2001 to 2010 presidency.

The court ordered 20 banks and financial institutions to freeze the Ongpin-linked accounts, including 10 directly under his name, for 20 days, according to a copy of the ruling obtained by Reuters.