Updates in money laundering probe involving Philippine casinos

Authorities, regulators and the senate in Philippines are taking a number of measures aimed to find the perpetrators and to prevent this from happening again.

The Philippines.- According to a report from Nikkei Asian Review, Manila has taken a number of urgent measures after Bangladeshi foreign reserves held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York were channelled to Philippines’ Rizal Commercial Banking Corp (RCBC) and then ended up in Philippine casinos’s accounts last month.

Philippine authorities aim to tighten regulations on illicit fund transfers after the U$81 million bank theft exposed loopholes in the country’s money laundering laws. Since then, the Philippine anti-money laundering council is conducting a probe the report says “it has rocked the banking world.”

Yesterday (Thursday) the SEC announced it has strengthened its anti-money laundering framework prohibiting to open anonymous accounts under fictitious names, requiring brokers to keep an electronic database containing clients’ vital information, banning brokers from creating new accounts without face-to face meetings and enabling the SEC to conduct surveillance and investigation by requiring brokers to provide the regulator access to particular accounts. Furthermore, insurance commissioner Emmanuel Dooc said central bank Governor Amando Tetangco “has already ordered to review AMLA regulations.”

The senate investigation unveiled new information regarding the RCBC bank. According to Nikkei Asian Review new findings revealed that Maia Deguito the manager of an RCBC bank branch created a fake account, into which the stolen funds were transferred. Deguito, has not denied nor confirm creating fictitious accounts, invoking her right against self-incrimination.