In February, hackers managed to steal $101 million from bank accounts in New York for account holders located in Bangladesh. $81 million of this amount was transferred to Manila, at a branch of the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation. The money was then reportedly withdrawn via Philrem Services Inc. and then two junket operators funneled the money in the local casino industry of Manilla. Due to the heist, the government of the Philippines are now going to strengthen the AML laws to stop loopholes from being present to avoid a similar situation.
Earlier this week, the Department of Finance announced that a process to strengthen the anti-money laundering laws has been initiated. Bank secrecy laws will also be changed, with a drafted bill in place to include casinos on the list of groups who will be covered under the Anti-Money Laundering Act.
Many agencies of the Philippines are calling for changes to be made to the anti-money laundering laws and want to see a requirement of casino included. The groups want to see casinos required to report a monetary transaction that seems suspicious. Reports would be sent to the Anti-Money Laundering Council.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, PAGCOR, is the state-run casino regulator who requires casinos in the Philippines to review passports and additional forms of identification of players. The department would like to see tax evasion included as a crime of money laundering plus expand the powers that the Anti-Money Laundering Council has.
The bill to strengthen the anti-money laundering laws of the area is set to be presented in July when the Senate and House of Representatives meet.