AMLC gets good marks from FATF
- Ted P. Torres () - November 7, 2005 - 12:00am
The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) has received high marks from the powerful Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international body leading the fight against money laundering.

In a report dated Oct. 18 this year, Yasushi Kanzaki, FATF chairman of the Asia and Pacific Review Group, said his group "was pleased to note that the Philippines had made excellent progress in the implementation of its AML reforms."

Kanzaki said the same position was aired during the FATF plenary meeting in mid October this year in Paris.

The review group met last Oct. 11 prior to the plenary, and the progress report of the Philippines was part of the agenda. "We were pleased to note that the Philippines had made excellent progress in the implementation of its AML reforms," the FATF representative told the AMLC. "The plenary asked the review group to continue to monitor your country’s progress during the formal monitoring period which will last at least until next February."

Meanwhile, the AMLC reported that as of last September it had in its hands a total of 88 cases lodged with different regional trial courts, the Court of Appeals, the Department of Justice, the Office of the Ombudsman, or the Supreme Court.

Of this number, money laundering cases account for 34 while seven petitions are for freeze orders. Also included in the list are 24 civil forfeiture cases, 18 applications for bank inquiries and five applications for freeze orders.

Banks recorded the most number of accounts investigated followed by insurance policies, securities or equities, and government transactions.

In terms of suspicious transactions, government activities took the lead with 2,679 cases followed by banks with 1,846 cases.

Government also topped the number of cases investigated from requests for mutual assistance for both domestic and foreign sources.

Total amount of funds or bank deposits frozen reached P1.084 billion. Subtracting the amounts subsequently unfrozen (P692 million) results in a net of P392 million representing the amount still frozen.

According to reports, the FATF still wants certain amendments to the country’s Anti Money Laundering Law.

The Asian Banker said the task force admonished the Philippines for not adequately ensuring that all its commercial banks file suspicious transaction reports.

The task force also wants the Philippines to strengthen the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and eventually remove the Bank Secrecy Law.

Pressure from the United States following the Sept. 11 attacks and heightened terrorist activities in Asia-Pacific have forced governments in the region to act quickly to put the necessary regulations in place. The Patriot Act of the US has also prompted banks operating in the country to have more reports and a higher level of customer due diligence from correspondent banks.

ANTI MONEY LAUNDERING LAW ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING COUNCIL ASIA AND PACIFIC REVIEW GROUP ASIAN BANKER BANGKO SENTRAL BANK SECRECY LAW COURT OF APPEALS DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE FINANCIAL ACTION TASK FORCE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN PATRIOT ACT
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