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AMLA amendments to take effect this month

(The Philippine Star) - April 5, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Amendments to the “dirty money” law which expanded its covered institutions and crimes are set to take effect this month.

Republic Act (RA) 10365, which amended certain provisions of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) of 2001, was signed into law by President Aquino last Feb. 15. The law will take effect 15 days after publication in a newspaper or by April 19.

It was among the measures enacted for the Philippines to avoid getting blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global anti-money laundering watchdog.

Since then, FATF has kept the Philippines under its grey list, which signified commitment to pass reforms. Being blacklisted would have meant higher financial transaction costs, especially for Filipinos abroad.

The Paris-based FATF has scheduled an “on-site visit” to inspect if AMLA reforms are being implemented accordingly. A total of three laws- including RA 10365 – have been passed to address FATF concerns.

Under RA 10365, foreign exchange corporations, money changers, pre-need and insurance companies were included in covered firms required to report transactions of P500,000 and above to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

Jewelry dealers will be required to do so for transactions worth P1 million and above, it added. Originally, only banks, quasi-banks and non-bank financial

The law also required the Land Registration Authority to submit to AMLC reports covering real estate purchases worth P500,000 and up.

Aside from this, predicate crimes- or those criminal acts where the law may also be applied if money is involved- were also expanded to cover 20 other acts, including bribery, extortion, malversation of public funds, fraud and financing of terrorism.

The original law only mentioned 14 acts connected to money laundering such as kidnapping, piracy on high seas, smuggling, robbery and plunder.

Despite AMLA having more teeth, RA 10365 still prevented AMLC to “participate in any manner” in the operations of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, which effectively banned it to intervene in the collection of taxes in pursuit of its mandate.

Two other laws were passed last year in order for the Philippines to comply with FATF requirements. They are RA 10168 and 10167, which respectively criminalized terrorist financing activities and gave AMLC the power to examine bank accounts without the owner’s consent.

ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING ACT ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING COUNCIL BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE FEB FINANCIAL ACTION TASK FORCE LAND REGISTRATION AUTHORITY LAW MONEY PRESIDENT AQUINO REPUBLIC ACT
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