A risk assessment report from the International Monetary Fund says the Philippine casino sector is among economic activities posing “medium” risk to the international reputation of that nation, in terms of the quality of anti-money laundering (AML) efforts and steps at combatting the financing of terrorism (CFT).
The paper, issued on Tuesday, looked at the risk faced by Philippine banks, non-financial corporate entities, and the microfinance sector.
It was prepared by a staff team from the IMF, and based on information available at the time the document was completed, in February 2021.
In June last year, the Paris-based watchdog the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) said it had added the Philippines to its “grey list” of jurisdictions that it regards need increased monitoring in relation to risk of financial crimes.
As of October last year – the most recent information available on the latter’s website – the Philippines remained on the FATF’s grey list.
The IMF’s report as published on Tuesday, said the “medium” reputational risk posed by the casino sector to the country’s frameworks for financial stability and AML/CFT, related to “major financial crime events and limited actions to amend the bank secrecy law”.
In a highly-publicised incident in 2016, some of the US$81-million in money stolen from the Bank of Bangladesh via an online heist passed through the Philippine banking system and gaming operations at several Philippine casinos, before mostly disappearing.
The IMF’s update said: “International confidence could diminish from insufficient supervision and monitoring of casinos, the gaming industry, and cryptocurrency exchanges, which could be abused for financial crimes.”
It added: “The strict bank secrecy laws that limit financial supervisors’ access to individual depositors could encourage criminals to misuse Philippine banks for fraud, money laundering, terrorism financing, and other financial crimes.”
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