Philippines to remain on the FATF’s ‘grey list’ despite some improvement

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The international body that grades countries’ efforts at helping to prevent money laundering and the financing of terrorism has reportedly announced that the Philippines is to remain on its ‘grey list’ of monitored jurisdictions.

According to a report from GGRAsia, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) used an official Friday filing to detail that the Philippines has been on its ‘grey list’ of jurisdictions since June after failing to demonstrate appropriate anti-money laundering and terrorism financing controls with regards to local casino junket operators. The source explained that this move had the effect of making it more difficult for the archipelagic nation of some 107 million people to attract foreign sources of investment and capital.

Peripheral progress:

The FATF reportedly acknowledged that the Philippines has ‘taken steps towards improving’ its anti-money laundering protocols since last summer and had even met some subsequent targets ‘ahead of any relevant deadlines.’ However, the Paris-headquartered organization purportedly moreover stated that the Asian country is to be obliged to ‘continue to work to implement its action plan’ before it can leave a club that also includes the likes of Yemen, Pakistan, Myanmar and Albania.

Octuple operations:

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Following a three-day plenary meeting, the FATF reportedly went on to list eight areas where the Philippines needs to do more in order to escape the ‘grey list’ classification. These purportedly included a requirement for the nation to demonstrate progress towards the implementation of anti-money laundering and terrorism financing controls ‘to mitigate risks associated with casino junkets.’

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Positive pledge:

Manila-headquartered newspaper BusinessWorld reportedly cited the head of the Philippines’ Anti-Money Laundering Council, Mel Georgie Racela, as proclaiming that his organization and the FATF will now ‘continue to work together’ to overcome these deficiencies. The watchdog purportedly went on to assert that he was committed to strengthening the Philippines’ anti-money laundering and terrorism financing policies so as to be able to show ‘progress towards effectiveness.’

Responsible remit:

Racela reportedly furthermore divulged that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCor) casino regulator is to now be the relevant agency charged with implementing a new action plan for the more effective supervision of junket operators. This purportedly comes some 15 months after federal legislators approved amendments to the nation’s Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 that added Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) and their ‘service providers’ to the list of ‘covered persons’ so as to make them answerable to the Anti-Money Laundering Council.

Reportedly read a statement from Racela…

“PAGCor is currently identifying the risks posed by junket operations and will subsequently implement necessary measures to mitigate these risks.”

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