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Casinos linked to $100m money laundering case

The

MoneyLaundering
Philippines Senate is to investigate an alleged $100m money laundering case involving three of the country's casinos.

A money laundering committee will hold a hearing next Tuesday, reports the Philippine Daily Inquirer, while regulator the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) are also holding their own investigations into what could be the largest case of money laundering ever seen in the country.

Earlier this week the Inquirer reported on the alleged money laundering involving funds stolen by China-based computer hackers from an overseas bank, reported to be in Bangladesh.

It is said that $100m was introduced into the Filipino banking system, sold to a black market foreign exchange broker, transferred to at least three large local casinos and then sold back to the broker and moved overseas.

Sources told the Inquirer that the funds were transferred to Solaire Resort & Casino, Midas Hotel and Casino, and City of Dreams Manila for a Macau-based client of a Filipino-Chinese junket operator and used to either “buy chips” or “pay for casino losses”.

A PAGCOR statement read: “PAGCOR expects the casinos to submit their comments on the allegation as an initial step in the investigation within this week.

“As a matter of regulation, PAGCOR requires casinos to employ strict internal control policies on funds movements and issuances of playing chips.

"In addition, casinos implement ‘know your customer’ protocols particularly with regard to high value patrons.

“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.”

It continued: "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.”

The case has provoked discussion of the Philippines' Anti-Money Laundering Act, which doesn't cover casinos.

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