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PH junket groups primarily responsible for the country’s continued presence on FATF grey list

March 4, 2024 Philippines Crime & Legal

The primary reason for the Philippines’ ongoing listing on the international list of nations considered inadequate in their efforts to prevent money laundering is the junket organizations catering to the country’s many casinos.

This assertion has been made by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international body that was founded by the Group of Seven (G7) to combat the funding of international terrorism and to prevent money laundering.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) designated the Philippines as having insufficient anti-money laundering regulations in 2021. The Philippines then promised to work with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to strengthen its banking system and financial laws that regulate companies that handle large sums of money, such casinos.

Despite the Philippines’ noticeable progress, FATF authorities maintain that more work is required to take the nation off the grey list. The United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Canada, France, and Italy are members of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which emphasizes the significant dangers of money laundering that come with casino junkets. These junkets lure high rollers to Philippine casinos from all around Asia, often giving them credit to cover their opulent travel costs.

There are four integrated casino resorts in the Philippines located in Entertainment City, Manila: Resorts World, City of Dreams, Solaire, and Okada. Furthermore, under the name Casino Filipino, the government operates casinos in each of the country’s freeport zones.

The FATF has been evaluating the Philippines’ adherence to international money laundering laws since October 2023, and certain advancements have been noted. However, the group feels that more work has to be done before the Philippines is removed from the gray list.

Demonstrating that regulatory organizations use anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing procedures to lessen the risks connected to gaming junkets is one area where the FATF suggests changes.

After China barred them from Macau, junket firms started operating often in the Philippines. These travel companies often work with casinos to maintain VIP tables in assigned areas.

Removing the Philippines off the FATF gray list has been President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s top objective throughout his administration. Last fall, Marcos issued an order to 44 government organizations, including PAGCOR, the Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation, which is in charge of managing casinos, to strengthen measures against money laundering.

A country gets added to the FATF grey list when it agrees to address shortcomings in its efforts to stop the financing of terrorism and money laundering. Remaining on the grey list puts a nation at danger of being placed on the FATF blacklist, which might result in fines and significant damage to its reputation. When a nation is added to the gray list, other nations may become reluctant to do business with it. The FATF intends to remove countries from the gray list in five years.

Original story by: Casino.org

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