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PH asked to toughen antimoney laundering laws or face international sanctions

By: - Reporter / @daxinq
/ 04:48 AM March 14, 2020

The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) is pushing for amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) of and the Human Security Act to keep the country’s financing regulations at par with global standards.

According to AMLC, the Financial Action Task Force has recommended the amendment of these laws after its publication of the Mutual Evaluation Report for the Philippines in October 2019.

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This assesses a country’s measures to fight money-laundering, terrorism financing and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The agency said the Philippines needed to enact and implement the amendments within 12 months following the report’s publication to ensure that the country is not included in the FATF’s “gray list” of jurisdictions with strategic antimoney laundering and counter-terrorism financing deficiencies that present a risk to the international financial system.

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Blocking the road

Inclusion in the gray list will result to an additional layer of scrutiny from regulators and financial institutions, thereby increasing the cost of doing business, delaying the processing of transactions and blocking the country’s road to an “A” credit rating, the AMLC added.

Both measures were presented to President Duterte’s Cabinet during its most recent meeting.

“To help the country’s road to an ‘A’ credit rating strategy, the President will endorse both measures to Congress as urgent,” the agency said.

Proposed amendments

The salient provisions of the proposed amendments to the AMLA are the inclusion of real estate developers and brokers as covered persons; the inclusion of tax crimes and violations of the Strategic Trade Management Act in relation to the proliferation financing of weapons of mass destruction, as predicate crimes under the AMLA; and the authority to implement targeted financial sanctions pursuant to United Nation Security Council resolutions on proliferation financing.

The proposed amendments will also expand the investigative powers of the AMLC, granting it subpoena powers; give it the authority to preserve assets under freeze or asset preservation orders, or the retention of forfeited assets, and a prohibition on court injunctions against forfeiture actions.

Meanwhile, salient provisions of the proposed amendments to the Human Securities Act include criminality provisions for foreign terrorist fighters and financing of their travel; the inclusion of a mechanism in the process of domestic designation of a terrorist, terrorist organization, or terrorist group, and the implementation of targeted financial sanctions in relation to UN Security Council resolutions to stop the flow of funds or assets to terrorist groups as well as the use of such funds or assets.

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TAGS: Anti-Money Laundering Act, Anti-Money Laundering Council
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