• AMLC: ‘Suspicious’ transactions up 500%

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    SUSPICIOUS transaction reports from 2011 to 2012 ballooned by an astounding 500-percent, the Commission on Audit (COA) reported.

    In the latest report of COA on the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), the suspicion transaction reports increased by 509 percent.

    For a transaction to be “suspicious,” it may, among others, involve an amount which is not commensurate with the business or financial capacity of a client or the transaction is structured to evade reporting requirements under the Anti-Money Laundering Act.

    In 2011, the figure registered at 9,749 transactions. A year after, it catapulted to 59,408.

    Covered transactions, or those with cash involving a total amount in excess of P500,000 in one banking day also jumped significantly.

    In 2011, covered transactions were at P46,494,904. It skyrocketed to P307,304,189 in 2012.

    Even the amount of cash that the AMLC froze jumped to P9.7 million. In 2011, the council froze P2.85 billion. Last year, it registered to P3.32 billion.

    “Of the [P3.32 billion], P1,55 billion was unfrozen and returned to investors or victims. The balance of P1.77 billion frozen funds was still with pending civil forfeiture and freeze order cases,” the 2012 COA report read.

    To recall, the Office of the Ombudsman lodges lawsuits before courts, especially at the Sandiganbayan, forfeiture civil cases, notable among them, those involving Lt. Gen. Jacinto Ligot over his alleged ill-gotten wealth in the form of real estate and bank accounts.

    The number of AMLC resolutions revealed that 62 cases are without court order in line with drug trafficking, kidnap-for-ransom, terrorism and United Nations Security Council. Another 67 were with court order relative to plunder, graft and corruption and estafa, among others.

    Bulk of the resolutions, at 137, was against terrorism or terrorist-related groups.

    The COA report added that according to a collated report of legal proceedings in different trial courts, in the Department of Justice, and in the Office of the Ombudsman, 271 cases were related to money laundering criminal complaints, petitions for freeze order, court-based applications for bank inquiry and civil forfeiture cases.

    Of these cases, 101 are still active, while 170 are already resolved.

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