The Philippines has remained on the “grey list” of the Paris-based watchdog the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), regarding jurisdictions that require extra monitoring in relation to risk of financial crimes. The updated list was published on Friday, following a four-day plenary meeting of the organisation, and it flagged again junket-related risks in the Philippine casino industry.
According to the FATF, when a jurisdiction is under enhanced 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 were added to the ‘grey list’ in June 2021.
In its Friday release, the FATF acknowledged that, since June last year, the Philippines had “taken steps towards improving its AML/CFT regime”. But the FATF listed a total of seven areas where more should be done to address the country’s “strategic deficiencies” regarding AML and CFT.
Among the recommendations, the international body said the Philippines had to demonstrate that it was making use of AML and CFT controls “to mitigate risks associated with casino junkets”.
The Philippines has a significant and growing casino and online gaming sector that in pre-pandemic times sought customers from across the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.
Earlier this month, a risk assessment report from the International Monetary Fund said the Philippine casino sector was among economic activities posing “medium” risk to the international reputation of that nation, in terms of the quality of AML efforts and steps at combatting the financing of terrorism.
In March, an executive director of the Philippines’ Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), Mel Georgie B. Racela, said the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) was “identifying risks posed by junket operations” and would “implement necessary measures to mitigate these risks.”
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