Philippines introduces anti money laundering casino law

By Robert Simmons
Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte has today signed a law which extends the coverage of existing anti-money laundering legislation to cover casino operations.

Republic Act 10927 amends the Philippine Anti Money Laundering Act (2001) including land-based, internet and ship based casino operations under the act’s definition of ‘covered persons’.

Originally the anti money laundering act only covered banks, trust entities, insurance companies, investment houses, securities dealers, moneychangers and money remittance firms.

The act defines casinos as “a business authorised by the appropriate government agency to engage in gaming operations”, requiring the reporting of all casino transactions in excess of P5m to be reported to the countries Anti-Money Laundering Council.

It also gives the Philippine Court of Appeals powers to issue a 20-day freeze order on any monetary instrument or property suspected to be related to an unlawful activity.

During this period, court officials will conduct a summary hearing with the aim of determining whether to lift or extend that freeze order, with a provision that the total period of the freeze order not exceed six months. Funds which are later proven in trial to be related to criminal activities will be forfeited to the state.

Moves to extend the coverage of anti-money laundering legislation came following the theft by hackers of $81m of US Federal reserve funds from the Bangladesh central bank in 2016.

At the time of the theft it was revealed that the bulk of these funds had been funnelled through casinos in the Philippines, which were previously exempt from anti-money laundering legislation, prompting government officials to act.


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