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Int’l body wants more teeth in PH anti-money laundering law

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MANILA, Philippines—The international Financial Action Task Force (FATF) wants the Philippines to amend anew its recently enhanced law against money laundering, insisting that casinos be included on the list of entities required to report suspicious transactions to regulators.

FATF, which concluded plenary meetings in Paris on Friday, said in a statement posted on its Web site that it decided to keep the Philippines on the list of countries that have manifested significant progress in fighting money laundering but away from its blacklist.

However, the influential body said the Philippines still has to address the particular “deficiency” in the new law if it wants to be declared as a country that is fully cooperative in the global fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.

“The FATF has concerns that the casino sector in the Philippines continues to be unregulated for AML (anti-money laundering) and CFT (countering the financing of terrorism) purposes and is still not subject to AML/CFT requirements, and urges the Philippines to promptly and effectively address this outstanding deficiency,” FATF said.

On February 15, President Benigno Aquino signed into law a bill passed by Congress  putting more teeth to the country’s Anti-Money Laundering law. The amended legislation requires even money changers, dealers of jewelry and precious metals, real-estate companies, and pre-need firms to report to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) suspicious transactions for purposes of catching money laundering and terrorist financing activities.

Previously, only banks, other financial institutions, and some professionals, were required to report such transactions to the AMLC.

Despite earlier recommendations to include casinos, the Philippine Congress ended up excluding these entities from those required to report suspicious transactions because of concerns from lobbyists that the inclusion could discourage people from going to casinos.

FATF, however, said including casinos in the reporting requirement is crucial for having a truly progressive anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing environment.

FATF said it will soon send representatives to the Philippines to confirm that the reforms that the country has committed to adopt are indeed being undertaken, and to determine progress as far as compliance with the remaining requirement involving casinos is concerned.

“The FATF will conduct an on-site visit to confirm that the process of implementing the required reforms and actions underway to address deficiencies previously identified by the FATF,” the statement added.

At the just concluded plenary meetings, FATF decided against placing the Philippines on its blacklist of uncooperative countries as it recognized the country’s efforts to comply with majority of its requirements.

Among these requirements are the criminalization of money laundering and terrorist financing, the adoption of procedures for freezing of assets believed to have come from terrorist activities and other illegitimate sources, and implementation of tighter rules on financial transparency.

“Since October 2010… the Philippines has made significant progress to improve its AML/CFT regime and has largely addressed its action plan,” FATF said.

It noted, however, that the Philippines, together with several other countries, will continue to be monitored for their progress toward becoming fully compliant with all of the FATF’s requirements.

The Philippines’ AMLC has said compliance with the FATF’s requirements is necessary to avoid the serious repercussions of having the country downgraded to the black list.

Blacklisting by the FATF could mean tighter requirements imposed on nationals of a country when they engage in financial transactions. Such a consequence is seen to adversely affect sending of remittances by the over 10 million estimated overseas Filipino workers.


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Tags: Banking and Finance , business , Casinos , Features , Foreign affairs , gambling , money laundering , transnational crime

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5UOZM4PWIDKO7G64HL3PPMXUTM Constantine

    Is Macau and Las Vegas being monitored by FATF? These are the countries where money is laundered and cleaned.

    • tunderlulo

      OMG, bakit palaging nandoon ka at alam mo? Pabalato naman diyan eh casino specialist ka pala

  • Weder-Weder Lang

    This should come as no surprise. At the special request of Pagcor Chief Bong Naguiat and the palace, casinos and online gambling were exempted from the expanded Anti-Money Laundering Law. To this day, casinos remain the easiest way to launder dirty money. Politicians can easily wash dirty money using the same. It is no wonder that we sometimes find more locals than foreigners in our casinos.

    But why in the world would Pagcor Chief Bong Naguiat fight tooth and nail to exempt casinos and online gambling from the expanded AMLA, risking the Philippines to be blacklisted by FATF?

    This is the very same Bong Naguiat who was at the receiving end of the lobby funds of casino mogul Okada right about the time PNoy assumed office. The $30 million lobby fund from just one of the casino moguls is clearly working its magic on Naguiat, the congress, the senate and the executive. Of course, the special request of Bong Naguiat would not suffice unless it was also seconded by the sitting president in the palace. Hence, the smooth-sailing passage of the AMLA amendments while completely exempting casinos and online gambling. The big gaping loophole defeats the very purpose of amending the AMLA. To think there are other casino operators on our soil.

    To understand the spell Naguiat has on PNoy, one only needs to recall that Bong Naguiat generously sold a “brand-new second-hand” yellow fast car to PNoy at fire sale price. In return, PNoy had to turn a blind eye when Naguiat and his family accepted bribe in Macau in the form of lavish perks, signature bag and pocket money. Moreover, Naguiat was caught on tape late last year 2012 misusing Pagcor cars and other resources. For all his sins, Naguiat remains PNoy’s most protected sacred cow. With casino lobby fund dangled in front of legislators and the executive, they are more than happy to back down from going after casinos and online gambling. Of course, let’s not forget to give credit to the huge appetite of morbidly obese Senator Guingona and Congressman Apostol.

    How money makes the world go round and round and round.

    _____________________________________________

    References:

    01. Pagcor Chair Bong Naguiat requests Guingona to exempt Casinos & online gambling.
    ==> rappler,com/nation/21209-ph-casinos-exempt-from-tougher-anti-money-laundering-law

    02. youtube video of Sen. Guingona & Cong. Apostol’s excuse for excusing Casinos
    ==> youtube,com/watch?v=uQiAKSJpuFk

    03. youtube video of DZMM discussing the futility of AMLA without including Casinos
    ==> youtube,com/watch?v=teIZLdo9HPo

    04. youtube video of Pagcor Chief Bong Naguiat misusing Pagcor cars & other resources
    ==> youtube,com/watch?v=uQpPP_VxnrQ

  • calixto909

    The non inclusion of casinos in the AMLA is the quid pro quo deal between the legislators and Pnoy so it wasn’t really meant to be included that’s why they only passed the AMLA on the last day of the senate’s session. There’s an unwritten code in legislation that these legislators won’t passed a law to curtail nor restrict their activities. Striking similarity to the dynasty law which they refused to enact it’s IRR despite popular clamor because for same reason it gives them restriction.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/SYG36KOOLRY47VA3ICPJJ5CQTQ ADD

    Gonggong kasi ang mga hinayupak na mambabatas na yan, bakit hindi pa isinama ung mga casino eh alam nman natin na pugad ng mga kriminal ung mga casino. Obvious na doon ipapadaan ang mga nakaw pera para hindi maimbestigahan.

    Ngayon double trabaho at double gastos ang mangyayari para maipasa ang batas.

  • opinyonlangpo

    Whatever teeth is that, it will be false teeth. A choice of metal, ceramic, chrome cobalt, titanium, gold. . . . depends on the status of the money launderer.

  • divictes

    It got teeth , alright, it’s the gums that’s rotten.



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