Pogos refusing to report red flags face money laundering rap, penalties, says AMLC
Investors in Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (Pogos) are also required to report suspicious transactions to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to prevent the growing online casino industry, catering mainly to Chinese players, from becoming a conduit for money laundering.
At the Senate finance committee hearing on AMLC’s proposed 2020 budget, Council Executive Director Mel Georgie B. Racela said Pogos since 2017 had been required to heed the “Know Your Customer” rule and report suspicious transactions.
Pogo firms must report these transactions to AMLC in five days, Racela told the committee.
Racela, asked by panel chair Sen. Sonny Angara, said the Pogo service provider shuttered by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) last Wednesday, Sept. 25, was among those lacking compliance with AMLC rules.
Racela, however, told reporters later that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), which licences Pogo operations, has yet to refer the service provider, Great Empire Gaming and Amusement Corp., to AMLC for investigation.
“Pagcor as the primary supervisor [of the Pogo sector] must refer” the case to AMLC, he said.
According to Racela, if Pogo firms refused to comply with reporting requirements, that would be tantamount to money laundering—a criminal offense punishable by six-month imprisonment.
Non-filing of covered transactions and suspicious transactions reports would also be slapped administrative sanctions, including a fine with a maximum penalty of P500,000 per violation, Racela said.
AMLC’s compliance and supervision arm may also refer non-compliant Pogos to its adjudication unit for prosecution, he added.
So far, Racela said there were already a number of Pogos that had registered with AMLC, “so I assume they filed their reports.”/tsb
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