Dirty money law amendments pushed
Fiscal and monetary authorities have submitted for lawmakers’ consideration a draft bill seeking amendments to the country’s anti-money laundering law.
The bill seeks to increase the number of sectors to be monitored by the Anti-Money Laundering Council and faster action in addressing cases involving suspected dirty money.
In separate transmittals to Senate President Franklin M. Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. dated April 20, Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima sought support for the strengthening of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) and the amendment of the Bank Secrecy Law.
“This is in light of several financial controversies that have exposed the weaknesses of our tax and financial system’s legal framework: The Bangladeshi Bank heist which involved Philippine casinos and banks; the phenomenon of ‘de-risking’, where a growing number of foreign banks are closing the accounts of our money transfer operators and may double the cost of remitting money back home for our overseas Filipino workers, and the Panama Papers that recently exposed offshore bank accounts from all over the world that may have avoided or evaded domestic taxation,” Purisima said.
The proposed AMLA amendments—which were jointly drafted by AMLC, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Department of Finance—sought the inclusion of casinos, real estate brokers, art dealers and motor vehicle dealers in the coverage of AMLC.
In the case of the gaming sector, the draft bill pointed out that casinos were “equally exposed to the raging threats of money laundering.”
“Its vulnerabilities to criminal exploitation can be attributed to the fact that casinos are cash intensive businesses with high volumes of large cash transactions taking place very quickly; that they also offer many financial services such as remittance, cash issuing and foreign exchange; that the movement of funds, either internationally or domestically undertaken, associated with gaming-related tourism is poorly understood and may pose money laundering threats; and, that the casino industry is unregulated for antimoney laundering purposes. With these identified vulnerabilities, the casino industry appears to be attractive in successfully undertaking money laundering activities,” it said.
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