’Strong message to money launderers’: AMLC turns over to US funds from sale of seized asset
MANILA, Philippines—The Anti-Money Laundering Council recently turned over to the US government millions of pesos of proceeds from the disposal of a property that was part of a case involving the movement of ill-gotten assets across national borders.
In a statement, the country’s dirty money watchdog said P18.3 million from the sale of a forfeited house and lot was handed to American authorities under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty between both jurisdictions late last month.
The agency said the action was made on the account of the US government’s request for assistance made to Philippine counterparts.
Located in Calamba, Laguna, the forfeited property is covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-500603, relative to AMLC Case No. 10-005, titled Republic of the Philippines versus Jovenal M. Cruz, et al.
The AMLC put the property up for sale and in January 2020, a sole bidder submitted an offer and paid 20 percent of the purchase price. Upon the council’s approval of the property’s sale to this bidder, the remaining balance was paid in July, amounting to the full price of P18,352,000.
“The process is necessary as the AMLC has no authority to forfeit for itself laundered funds and other assets,” the agency said in a statement. “In fact, the AMLC previously turned over the proceeds of the sale to the Bureau of Treasury, until the AMLC’s turnover of said proceeds to the US Embassy.”
The agency said the turnover was “not a mere mechanical and bureaucratic procedure” but represents “the culmination of the AMLC’s efforts to run after proceeds of crimes and money laundering, which must be confiscated in favor of the Philippine government or the requesting state.”
“Crime does not pay, and this turnover is intended to convey a strong message to would-be money launderers,” AMLC said.
At the administrative level, the turnover highlights the AMLC’s adoption of an asset management system on the maintenance and disposal of frozen and forfeited assets. This allows the AMLC to ensure that during the pendency of cases, and after their forfeiture, the assets do not diminish in value, and that these assets are converted into cash before transmittal to the National Treasury or, in this case, the requesting state.
The agency said the relationship between Philippine and US authorities were “further renewed and strengthened” by the turnover of the proceeds from the asset disposal.
AMLC executive director Mel Georgie Racela and US Department of Justice attaché Tim Hammer participated in the ceremonial turnover.
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