PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has signed a new law placing casino operations under the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) in a bid to curb illegal financial transactions.
Republic Act 10927, a copy of which was released by Malacañang on Wednesday, effectively amended RA 9160, also known as AMLA of 2001, to expand its coverage of persons and transactions.
With the new law, casinos, including internet and ship-based operations, are now considered “covered persons” under the AMLA.
The new law requires the reporting of casino transactions worth at least P5 million, or its equivalent in other currencies, to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC). The council, created by AMLA, is tasked to monitor suspicious financial transactions in the country.
The law defines casino as “a business authorized by the appropriate government agency to engage in gaming operations.”
Under RA 10927, the Court of Appeals can issue a 20-day freeze order on any monetary instrument or property suspected to be related to unlawful activity.
During that period, the court will conduct a summary hearing to determine whether to lift or extend the freeze order. The total period of the freeze order shall not exceed six months.
In February 2016, unidentified hackers shifted $81 million from Bangladesh’s account with the New York Federal Reserve to four accounts at an RCBC branch in Makati.
The money was later moved to casinos, which were then exempted from dirty money watchdogs’ scrutiny at that time.