The international body that examines and grades countries’ efforts at helping to prevent money laundering has reportedly placed the Philippines on its ‘grey list’ and recommended that the jurisdiction up its efforts at stamping out financial crimes.
According to a report from GGRAsia, the move from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) could now make it more difficult for the archipelagic nation of some 107 million people to attract foreign sources of investment and capital. The source detailed territories on this ‘grey list’ are obliged to work with the regulator to improve their anti-money laundering protocols and submit associated progress reports at least three times a year.
The Philippines was reportedly on the FATF’s ‘blacklist’ of non-compliant countries for the five years from 2000 and was severely embarrassed in 2016 when a portion of some $81 million that had been electronically pilfered from the national bank of Bangladesh was laundered through metropolitan Manila’s Solaire Resort and Casino. This purportedly helped prompt local legislators to ratify amendments to the country’s Anti-Money Laundering Act in January to add those companies holding a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) license and their ‘service providers’ to the list of enterprises required to abide by a strict set of anti-money laundering protocols.
The FATF reportedly used an official Friday filing to declare that the Philippines had made ‘progress’ on a number of ‘recommended actions to improve technical compliance and effectiveness’ since completing a 2019 evaluation ‘including by addressing technical deficiencies on targeted financial sanctions’. However, the Paris-headquartered organization purportedly conversely added that the Asian nation was still lacking when it came to demonstrating that appropriate anti-money laundering and terrorism financing controls were being implemented on local casino junket operators.
Reportedly read a statement from the FATF…
“When we place a jurisdiction under increased monitoring, it means the country has committed to swiftly resolving the identified strategic deficiencies within agreed timeframes and is subject to increased monitoring.”
The Philippines is reportedly home to a large and growing online gaming sector that before the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic was engaged in seeking customers from across the whole of the Asia-Pacific region including China. The nation will now purportedly only be taken off of the FATF’s ‘grey list’ if it can successfully demonstrate that it has adequately implemented a series of recommendations to improve its anti-money laundering vigilance.
In replying to the designation from the FATF and the Philippines’ Anti-Money Laundering Council reportedly proclaimed that ‘the mere identification’ of its failings will not result in the ‘imposition of countermeasures.’ But this body purportedly asserted that it has now agreed to a ‘sustained pledge’ and will work to implement the watchdog’s action plan ‘within the prescribed time-lines’ in hopes of having its name removed from the ‘grey list.’