Funds frozen by AMLC hit P1.134B
- Des Ferriols () - April 6, 2005 - 12:00am
Funds frozen by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) reached P1.134 billion as of end-February this year.

After being removed from its blacklist, the international watchdog Financial Action Task Force on Anti-Money Laundering (FATF) has put the Philippines under a one-year monitoring period to ensure that the performance that led to its delisting would be sustained.

According to AMLC, the number of money-laundering and money-laundering-related cases are still rising – an indication that its monitoring system and detection is working as intended.

At the end of February, AMLC said the total amount of frozen funds still under the custody of the council amounted to P442.946 million, up slightly from a little over P400 million at the end of 2004.

The AMLC reported that as of end-February, it has recorded over 6,000 suspicious transactions reported by covered institutions such as banks, non-bank financial institutions, insurance companies, securities firms and government institutions.

AMLC said it has a total of 31 cases of money laundering, 23 cases of civil forfeiture. During the first two months of the year, the council reported that it made three applications for freeze orders and nine applications for bank inquiries.

AMLC has been the leading institution together with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) for the country’s removal from the black list of the Paris-based FATF.

However, AMLC is bound to secrecy by the Anti Money Laundering Law and is prohibited from disclosing any detail about specific cases until they have already been charged in the courts.

According to AMLC executive director Vicente Aquino, AMLC has already conducted a considerable number of bank inquiries and examinations for accounts involved in various unlawful activities including drug trafficking and even terrorism-related offenses.

Aquino said the AMLC has so far investigated a total of 71 banks for various drug trafficking cases involving a total of 168 suspicious accounts of about 72 individuals.

On the other hand, Aquino said the AMLC has also examined a total of 26 accounts in eight banks involving 20 individuals or suspects in cases considered terrorism-related.

According to Aquino, a significant portion of the cases being investigated by the council involved violations of the Securities Regulations Act, mostly the illegal sale of unregistered securities by pyramid operators.

Aquino said the country’s removal from FATF’s list of non cooperative countries and territories (NCCT) was partly based on the AMLC’s performance in the implementation of the government’s anti money laundering program.

Aquino reported that the AMLC had also succeeded in setting up anti-money laundering desks in all relevant law-enforcement agencies, regulatory and supervising authorities as well as other government agencies that act as contact points for the council.

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