Philippines president signs anti-money laundering law

The president has signed stricter money laundering controls into law.
The president has signed stricter money laundering controls into law.

Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law to avoid the Philippines being grey-listed by the FATF.

The Philippines.- President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law to strengthen anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regulations in order to comply with the recommendations of the global watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

The Southeast Asian nation had been advised that it would be placed on the FATF’s “grey list”, which could impact foreign investment, unless the government approved stricter controls by February 1.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the Paris-based inter-governmental agency, grey-listed the Philippines in 2000 for failing to address money-laundering issues. The country was then removed from the list in 2005 after amending legislation.

In order to avoid a new sanction, the new legislation approved by president Duterte on Friday expands the powers of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), allowing it to impose targeted financial sanctions and to apply for court summons, and search and seizure warrants.

The law, which had been previously debated by the Senate, states: “Consistent with its foreign policy, the state shall extend cooperation in transnational investigations and prosecutions of persons involved in money laundering activities wherever committed”.

The AMLC will be able to scrutinise transactions involving Philippine-based online casino operators, which employ thousands of mainland Chinese workers, and real-estate firms and brokers engaging in single cash transactions worth more than 7.5m pesos ($160,000).

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