Philippines: AMLC urges vigilance as suspicious money transactions surge
24 Nov 2020

The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) urged financial industry stakeholders to remain cautious and vigilant amid rising evidence that criminal elements may be abusing digital platforms that are now seeing greater adoption due to the pandemic.

AMLC Chair and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Gov. Benjamin Diokno said proper know-your-customer and customer due-diligence procedures must always be conducted while clients’ risk ratings must be periodically assessed.

“Likewise, online fund transfer service providers are advised to be vigilant especially during the pandemic,” he said in a press briefing.

In particular, the AMLC noted a surge in suspicious transaction reports related to online activities in its monitoring of the trend of financial crimes during the COVID-19 public health crisis.

The report examines red-flagged transactions submitted by financial institutions to the regulator from January to August of this year, covering the months of the various quarantine schemes imposed across the country.

Suspicious transaction report submissions for the period increased by 57 percent compared with the same months in 2019.

Of the total number of suspicious transactions, only 29 percent, however, occurred between the start of the lockdown in March to the end of August 2020. Red flag submissions of electronic money issuers soared by 688 percent while those of pawnshops and money service businesses climbed by 51 percent.

By Daxim L. Lucas, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 29 February 2020

Read more at Philippine Daily Inquirer

Photo (cropped and edited): UNCTAD [CC-BY-2.0] via Flickr

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