The operator of one of three Philippines casinos named in a media report as venues where money was allegedly laundered has told GGRAsia it has been using a “strict set of internal anti-money laundering policies and procedures in line with international practice,” since it opened in December 2014.
“It is our company policy not to provide comment on market speculation,” said the email from Maggie Ma, senior vice president of corporate communications and public relations for Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd.
The firm operates City of Dreams Manila, part of Entertainment City in the Philippine capital. The venue was named along with Solaire Resort and Casino run by Bloomberry Resorts Corp and Midas Hotel and Casino, majority-owned by Leisure and Resorts World Corp, as being venues where allegedly as much as US$100 million of illicit funds may have been laundered. According to a report in the Philippine Inquirer on Monday, the money was the proceeds of theft by hackers from a bank overseas that had been directed to a bank in the Philippines.
Melco Crown’s Ms Ma stated: “The news article published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on February 29, 2016, made mention that the transaction in question entered the Philippine financial system through Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC). City of Dreams Manila does not utilise the facilities of RCBC for its banking requirements. Also, City of Dreams Manila has no knowledge of the transactions described in the said news report.”
She added: “It’s affirmative that since the opening in December 2014, City of Dreams Manila has implemented a strict set of internal anti-money laundering policies and procedures in line with international practice.”
The country’s casino regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp, also known as Pagcor, said in a Wednesday statement it “expects the casinos to submit their comments on the allegation as an initial step in the investigation within this week”.
The Pagcor statement added: “As a matter of regulation, Pagcor requires casinos to employ strict internal control policies on funds movements and issuances of playing chips.”
It continued: “In addition, casinos implement ‘know your customer’ protocols particularly with regard to high value patrons. Records of financial transactions are available for scrutiny by Pagcor on demand. The internal control systems and procedures generally follow casino industry standards practiced in many gaming jurisdictions throughout the world.
“None of the casinos mentioned in the news report have accounts with the bank through which the funds in question first entered the Philippine financial system. It is worth noting that all bank remittances into casino bank accounts regardless of amount are subjected to scrutiny as to the identity of the remitting party and the purpose of the remittance,” added the regulator.
GGRAsia also approached the other casino venues named in the report for comment, but had not received any feedback at the time this report went online.
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