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Implementing rules of new money laundering law to cover casinos

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas will lead today the signing of the implementing rules and regulations of the expanded anti-money laundering law that now includes casinos, Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. said Tuesday.

“We will be signing it tomorrow [Wednesday]... This is a joint initiative not just of the BSP but also the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. and others.... There has been an extensive consultation on this,” Espenilla said.

He said the amended Anti-Money Laundering law would cover casino operators who were now required to behave in a certain way in line with anti money laundering expectations.

“Casinos themselves have their own regulator.... in this case Pagcor and a few others who are zone based,” Espenilla said.

Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier signed a law expanding the coverage of the Anti-Money Laundering law or Republic Act 10927 including casinos. RA 10927 amended RA 9160 also known as Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001.

Espenilla said the inclusion of casino operations under the coverage of the law was a very significant move to bar the entry of dirty money.

Under the new law, casinos including Internet and ship-based casinos are now considered “covered persons” under AMLA. 

Any single cash transaction in excess of P5 million or equivalent in any other currency is considered “covered transaction” that must be reported to AMLC. The agency also is mandated to monitor suspicious financial transactions.

The law authorized the Court of Appeals to issue a 20-day freeze order on any monetary instrument or property suspected to be related to any unlawful activity.

The Philippines has already become an Asian gambling hub, with data from state-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. showing that local casinos raked in P149 billion in gross gaming revenue in 2016.

Espenilla earlier said the expansion of the anti-money laundering law and relaxation of the deposit secrecy law were among his priorities as BSP governor. 

He said the expansion of the anti-money laundering law, including casinos, was one of the biggest challenges in his tenure.

He said expanding the anti-money laundering law would result in a more secure financial system that would end up protecting consumers. “It is BSP’s job to make sure that that the banking system is secure and prevent the entry of illegal funds in the financial system,” Espenilla said.

Cyber thieves stole $81-million from the account of Bank of Bangladesh in Federal Reserve in New York in February 2016. The dirty money entered the local financial system through a Makati branch of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. and eventually through local casinos.

Topics: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas , money laundering law , casinos
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