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AMLC freezes P1B worth of assets


AMLC Executive Director Mel Georgie Racela. PNA Photo

The Anti-Money Laundering Council’s (AMLC) collaboration with the country’s law enforcement agencies resulted in over P1 billion worth of assets frozen from January 2018 to July 2019.

This was according to AMLC Executive Director Mel Georgie Racela during his welcome remarks at the 2019 Counter-Terrorism Financing (CTF) Summit Opening Ceremony held in Taguig City on Tuesday.

He added the estimated value of frozen assets include P52-million worth of terrorism funds, which is about $1 million.

The estimated value of assets subject to civil forfeiture, meanwhile, has reached over P600 million.

“The AMLC has also received nearly 90,000 suspicious transaction reports as well as customer due diligence documents from virtual currency exchanges; released an analysis of suspicious transaction reports; and assisted law enforcement agencies in investigation related to virtual currencies,” Racela also noted.

These figures, he stressed, were results of the country’s financial intelligence unit’s collaboration with domestic law enforcement agencies.

“So let’s all actively embrace collaboration and cooperation. Because truly, we are stronger when we work together,” he said.

Racela’s message is in line with “Together United–Strengthening Our Region” theme of the 2019 CTF Summit that brought together leaders in financial intelligence along with senior representatives from regulatory, national security, law enforcement, industry and academia, from across the region and the world.

“A key example of this broadening commitment occurred this year with Indonesia and Malaysia leading a team that included representatives from Australia, Brunei Darussalam, New Zealand, Philippines and Singapore in conducting research into the transnational laundering of the proceeds of corruption in our region,” AMLC, Indonesia’s financial intelligence unit PPATK and Australia’s AUSTRAC said in a joint statement.

Citing research, they noted that politically exposed persons in Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) with influence in their countries over the natural resources sector, were found to have the highest vulnerability to corruption either by embezzlement or bribery.

The most influential politically exposed persons have access to complex and sophisticated money laundering schemes, they added.

“These schemes are designed to hide the origins of the funds and involve the movement of funds through multiple jurisdictions within and outside the Asean region,” the agencies explained.

They stressed that oftentimes, schemes such as these are provided by criminal professional facilitators, using banks that are foreign to the source of the initial corrupt proceeds.

Lastly, the agencies mentioned that proceeds of corruption from countries outside the Asean plus region were also considered in the research.

It found out the threat of these funds being laundered within the Asean region is considered high.

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Today’s Front Page February 28, 2020

Today’s Front Page February 28, 2020