Dominguez: Duterte orders probe on influx of dirty money in PH
MANILA, Philippines–President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered an investigation into the reported entry of more and more dirty cash into Philippine shores during the past few months while strengthening the government’s anti-money laundering arm.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said Tuesday that he was able to talk to the President during a Cabinet meeting on Monday night about the suspected money-laundering activities of two syndicates that brought in about $370 million in foreign currency.
Dominguez said Duterte “confirmed the recommendation to have the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) vigorously investigate and enhance monitoring” of these dirty money inflows.
Also, Duterte wanted “to certify as urgent pending bills affecting the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) and the lifting of the Bank Secrecy Law in cases of predicate crime such as money laundering and tax evasion,” Dominguez added.
Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero earlier reported that two suspected syndicates brought into the Philippines about P18.7 billion in foreign dirty money that Sen. Richard Gordon had flagged as possibly being used in criminal activities in the country.
The two groups had been identified as “Chinese,” which sneaked in $167.97 million between Dec. 17 last year until January this year; and “Rodriguez,” which had a larger $200.24 million from July 17 last year up to January, Guerrero reported to Dominguez in January.
The couriers of these suspected dirty money get paid P12,000 to P50,000 per flight—and they do so twice or thrice a week carrying up to two pieces of luggages, Guerrero said.
Also, these couriers had been “able to escape detection because they are escorted by members of the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) or of the airport police department at the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA),” Guerrero added.
Pressed by the INQUIRER for more details on Tuesday, Guerrero declined to comment due to pending ongoing operations against the suspected money launderers alongside investigation by the Lower House and the Senate.
Edited by JPV
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