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Philippines Aims to Exit Money Laundering Grey List

The Philippines is currently on the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) anti-money laundering grey list, signaling weaknesses in the country's measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

Philippines Aims to Exit Money Laundering Grey List

The FATF, an intergovernmental organization established by the Group of Seven (G7), placed the Philippines on this list in 2021. In response, the Philippine government has committed to collaborating with the FATF to bolster its anti-money laundering safeguards.

 

The Philippines' extensive casino industry has been identified as a contributing factor to its susceptibility to criminal activity, leading to its continued grey list status. President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. directed the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), which regulates and operates casinos, to implement regulations ensuring that casinos prevent money laundering. PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Alejandro Tengco confirmed that the agency is taking action, with newly appointed President and Chief Operating Officer Wilma Eisma tasked with overseeing efforts to enhance protocols against money laundering.

 

Tengco emphasized that PAGCOR's focus is on risk-based supervision and disrupting the operations of junket groups, which have seen increased activity in the Philippines following crackdowns in other regions. These measures aim to expedite the country's removal from the FATF grey list. Junket operations, catering to wealthy high rollers, have drawn scrutiny for their potential role in facilitating illicit money flows.


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Despite its grey list status, the FATF has acknowledged the Philippines' progress in strengthening anti-money laundering efforts. In a February update, the FATF commended the country's initiatives and outlined areas for continued improvement, including enhanced controls related to casino junkets.

 

The Philippines' commitment to addressing money laundering vulnerabilities underscores its determination to exit the FATF grey list and strengthen its financial integrity framework.

By fLEXI tEAM

 

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