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Philippines remains on FATF Grey List despite positive developments

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At the recent plenary sessions in Paris on February 23, the Philippines’ appeal to be removed from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list was unsuccessful.

A number of challenges persist for the country that was added to the list in June of 2021, and that is facing ongoing hurdles in its efforts to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

Key areas of concern highlighted by the FATF include the need for the Philippines to demonstrate effective supervision of designated non-financial businesses and professions (DNFBPs), which encompass various sectors like casinos, real estate agents, lawyers, and accountants. These entities are required to assess risks, maintain records, report suspicious activities, and manage internal risks.

Additionally, the FATF emphasized the importance of mitigating risks associated with casino junkets and called for increased efforts in money laundering investigations and prosecutions aligned with identified risks.

Despite the Philippines’ commitment to enhancing its anti-money laundering framework, evidenced by steps taken to improve case identification and investigation, it remains on the grey list.

To address FATF concerns and pave the way for removal from the grey list, the Philippines must demonstrate a significant increase in the prosecution of money laundering cases, streamline access to beneficial ownership information for law enforcement, and ensure the accuracy and timeliness of such information.

While some jurisdictions, such as Barbados, Gibraltar, Uganda, and the United Arab Emirates, have successfully exited the grey list, others like Kenya and Namibia have been added. The FATF continues to closely monitor a list of jurisdictions, including the Philippines, grappling with anti-money laundering challenges.

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