The FATF keeps the Philippines on grey list

The FATF grey-listed the Philippines last June.
The FATF grey-listed the Philippines last June.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has updated its grey list of jurisdictions that require increased monitoring due to the risk of financial crime, and the Philippines remains listed.

The Philippines.- The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the Paris-based inter-governmental agency that monitors controls on anti-money laundering and terrorist financing, has decided to keep the Philippines on it’s “grey list” of untrustworthy jurisdictions. It updated the list after a four-day meeting last week.

The FATF acknowledged that the Philippines had “taken steps to improve its AML/CFT regime” since last June. However, it listed seven areas where more work is needed to address the country’s “strategic deficiencies” related to AML and CFT.

Among the recommendations, it said the Philippines needs to demonstrate that it uses AML and CFT controls “to mitigate risks associated with casino junkets.”

Countries on the grey list are required to submit progress reports to FATF three times a year. The Philippines was on the grey list before from 2000 until 2005. 

A week ago, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) issued a report that classed the Philippine casino industry as one of the economic activities that pose a “moderate” risk to the country’s international reputation in terms of anti-money laundering (AML) work and combatting the financing of terrorism (CFT).

The Philippines has a significant and growing casino and online gaming industry that sought customers from Asia Pacific and beyond in the pre-pandemic era.

When talking to Focus Gaming News about a possible competitor to Macau for its title as the ‘Las Vegas of Asia’, seasoned industry observers at Global Betting & Gaming Consultants (GBGC) highlighted the Philippines as “the most serious contender”.

“[The Philippines] has developed several integrated resorts to rival Macau.” the sources said. “It has also recently allowed licence holders to begin online gaming operations, which is an advantage over Macau’s concessions.”

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