Palace: PH bent on staying away from dirty money 'gray list'
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang confirmed on Thursday, March 3, that the country's financial intelligence unit and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) are investigating reports that Philippine casinos have been used to launder about $100 million, putting the country at risk of returning to the "gray list" of the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said the government is determined to maintain the country's good standing with the international financial system.
"Hence, the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) is tasked with ensuring the integrity of financial and banking transactions," Coloma added.
This comes on the heels of recent reports that some $100 million in dirty money flowed through the Philippine banking system, then were eventually laundered in local casinos.
"The AMLC is addressing the concerns pertaining to the alleged money laundering activities in the casinos that were reported recently," Coloma said.
The communications secretary added that PAGCOR has initiated its own inquiry on the matter.
Coloma said PAGCOR is expecting the casinos to "submit their comments on the allegation as an initial step in the investigation."
As the regulatory body for all gaming-related firms, PAGCOR requires all casino operators to institute "strict internal control policies on funds movements" and to open their respective financial transactions for scrutiny by the government agency.
It was in 2012 when the global anti-money laundering watchdog kept the Philippines on a "gray list" of countries being monitored for compliance with internationally accepted standards against harboring tax evaders.
FATF, an inter-governmental body established in 1989, develops policies to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
Its "dark gray" listing means a country is not making sufficient progress against money laundering and terrorist financing; while a "gray" listing signifies that a country is making sufficient progress in the global campaign against money launderers and terrorists. – Rappler.com