Philippines to probe gaming finance

Philippines will insist on controlling the economic structure of gaming and casino business to avoid possible money laundering.

Philippines.- Since last year’s involvement in an international money laundering case, the national government of the Philippines decided to probe the gaming activity to control irregularities. This week, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel confirmed the government’s intentions to include casino industry in a new law that would regulate the finance transactions.

According to the international press, Aquilino Pimentel made public last Monday the new proposal to control the gaming industry under a new money laundry legislation. The measure would be debated and voted in May by the Philippine Senate, whilst the lower house of Congress would also be studying the potential law.

If it is approved, casinos would have to register the entrance of every customer and bets over US$60,000 made in a period of 24 hours. The registration must be sent to the Philippines regulator of anti-money laundering activities. “The pending bill is one of the products of the (senate) investigation,” reminded the official.

Philippines has been holding an investigation to determine the money laundering case revealed last year, which connected local casino activities to a seemingly illicit committed from Bangladesh to New York. The investigation confirmed that Maia Deguito, the manager of an RCBC bank branch, created a fake account, into which the stolen funds were transferred. The band system requested US$1 billion from its account at the New York Federal Reserve in early February.

Although the New York managers rejected the requests, the investigation showed that US$81 million were sent to Philippines and used in casino activities. The case leads to President Rodrigo Duterte’s attempt to include casinos in the anti-money laundering regulation, which would be effective this year.