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Philippines passes money laundering amendment

President Rodrigo Duterte certified the amendment as urgent.
President Rodrigo Duterte certified the amendment as urgent.

Single cash transactions exceeding US$103,999 in casinos will be labelled as “suspicious”.

The Philippines.- The House of Representatives has passed a new amendment to the Philippines’ anti-money laundering laws which will impact on transactions made in casinos.

The amendment places casino operators along with precious metals dealers and real estate brokers and developers under the scope of Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA).

It states that large single cash transactions will be labelled as suspicious. In the case of casinos, this will apply to all individual transactions exceeding Php 5m(US$103,999).

The main goal of the change is to avoid being grey-listed by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which had given the Philippines until February 2021 to make the changes to its anti-money laundering legislation.

President Rodrigo Duterte certified the proposed amendment as urgent, and it was approved by legislators at its second reading on Tuesday.

Essentially, the amendment strengthens the AMLA by allowing the enforcement of financial sanctions, facilitating prosecutions of money laundering activities overseas, including tax crimes.

In June 2021 the FATF is due to make a decision on whether the Philippines will be grey-listed. The country has been on the FATF blacklist once before, from 2000 to 2005.

One of the consequences is the exposure to sanctions from foreign governments and a higher cost of operations for Filipino businesses overseas.

The Singapore Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA) is also considering the possibility of introducing stricter controls for casino transactions, although its standards are already higher than those demanded by the FATF.

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legislation Money Laundering philippines