IACAT, AMLC probe Aussie bank’s link to child pornographers in PH
MANILA, Philippines–The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) is coordinating with the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to look into reports that Australian bank Westpac is allegedly allowing its customers to send money to child pornographers in Southeast Asia including the Philippines.
“IACAT is coordinating with AMLC on this matter,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said in a text message.
He said once there is sufficient evidence “we will refer the matter to the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) for a thorough investigation.”
Guevarra said the AMLC has been directly coordinating with its counterpart-Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) following an entrapment operation last month where authorities discovered that an Australian national was involved in the online sexual exploitation of Filipino children.
“In the ensuing coordination between the Philippine and Australian Police, it was discovered that Westpac (an Australian bank) was also informed,” Guevarra said adding that it was actually AUSTRAC who uncovered Westpac’s involvement.
The entrapment operation Guevarra was referring to was conducted in Rizal last month where a 45-year old woman had allegedly been live-streaming her 12-year old daughter while she poses in sexual positions for customers abroad in exchange for cash she receives through money transfer.
Investigation showed that one of the customers was an Australian national.
Reports say that Westpac’s CEO Brian Hartzer has stepped down following allegations of failing to report international fund transfers including payments to child pornographers in Southeast Asia.
Edited by MUF
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