FATF insists casinos must report dealings

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

 

The FATF, which concluded plenary meetings on Friday, decided to keep the Philippines on the list of countries that have made significant progress in fighting money laundering and off its blacklist.

 

The influential body however, said the Philippines still had to address the particular “deficiency” in the new law if it wanted to be declared a country that was fully cooperating 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 (antimoney 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,” the agency said in one of its statements on the plenary meetings.

 

On Feb. 15, President Benigno Aquino III signed into law the Congress-ratified measure putting more teeth into the country’s Anti-Money Laundering Act (Amla). The revised legislative measure requires even money changers, dealers of jewelry and precious metals, real estate companies, and preneed firms to report to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) suspicious transactions for purposes of catching money launderers and terror financiers.

 

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

 

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

 

The FATF, however, said that including casinos in the reporting requirement was crucial for having a truly progressive antimoney laundering and antiterrorist financing environment.

 

 

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  • 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 (as repoted by rappler,com and PTV). 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.

    Why did PNoy suddenly favor exempting casinos and online gaming knowing their potential for money laundering? 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

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