A Paris-based watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), says the Philippines remains on its “grey list” of jurisdictions it thinks need increased monitoring regarding financial-crime risk. The announcement was made on Friday, following the organisation’s latest plenary meeting.
According to the FATF, when a jurisdiction is under increased monitoring, it means the country “has committed to resolve swiftly the identified strategic deficiencies” in its anti-money laundering (AML) and combatting the financing of terrorism (CFT) framework.
The Philippines was added to the ‘grey list’ in June 2021.
In its Friday release, the FATF acknowledged that, since June 2021, the Philippines had “taken steps” towards improving its AML/CFT regime. But the FATF listed some areas where more should be done to address the country’s “strategic deficiencies” in those matters.
Among the recommendations, the international body said again the Philippines had to demonstrate that it was making use of AML and CFT controls “to mitigate risks associated with casino junkets”.
“The FATF urges the Philippines to swiftly implement its action plan to address the … strategic deficiencies as soon as possible as all deadlines expired in January 2023,” stated the organisation.
In January, the governor of the Philippine central bank said the country has been given a year extension – until January 2024 – to meet the financial standards needed to get off a risk list of the FATF.
In March, the Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission announced a data-sharing agreement with several governmental agencies, including the country’s gaming regulator, as part of efforts to fight money laundering and terrorist financing.
The move followed a report from the Philippines’ Anti-Money Laundering Council, which stated that AML controls in the country’s casino sector needed to be strengthened. The body pointed the finger at the junket system, highlighting its “inherent vulnerability” to money-laundering and terrorism-financing risks.
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