Philippines to assess casino activities

Casino transactions would be added to the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA).

Philippines.- The Asian country would intensify the laws against money laundering by including casino investigations under the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA). Several amendments to the Act, presented yesterday by chairman of the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies of the Philippines Francis Escudero would be focused on probing casino transactions.

The national Congress will debate the new law in 2017, before the scheduled plenary session of Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in June. The FATF had suggested the investigation of casino transactions by the AMLA in 2013. The amendments support the proposal introduced last month by Feliciano Belmonte Jr, member of the Philippine House of Representatives from Quezon City.

Belmonte Jr’s initiative proposed to report suspicious financial transactions to the Anti-Money Laundering Council; the bill has not been debated yet. Another member of the House of Representatives, Ben Evardone, backed the new amendment by Escudero and will present the craft of the House’s documentation of the bill.

The further bill introduced yesterday would modify the Republic Act 9160 or AMLA of 2001, which set the conditions to investigate certain economic sectors. The transactions in casinos, and other industries such as real estate companies or jewels and metals, which exceeds US$10,000, would be reported and investigated. The Anti-Money Laundering Council would have the power to freeze monetary instruments or properties in case of finding them illegal.