More teeth: Duterte enacts amendments to anti-money laundering law
MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte on Friday enacted amendments to the country’s 19-year-old anti-money laundering law, giving it more teeth and preventing the Philippines from being tagged as a haven for dirty money.
The amendments, contained in Republic Act No. 11521, which he signed on Friday, will strengthen the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 by, among others, expanding the sectors covered by anti-laundering regulations and including tax crimes as a predicate offense.
Real estate developers and brokers will now be included on the list of persons covered by the measure that prevents or combats the concealment of money that was illegally earned or obtained.
Also covered are offshore gaming operators and their service providers.
More AMLC powers
The new law also strengthens the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) by allowing it to investigate suspicious transactions and to apply for search and seizure orders and subpoenas from a court.
The council could also implement financial sanctions targeted at the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and its financing.
It could preserve, manage or dispose assets pursuant to a freeze order, asset preservation order, or judgment of forfeiture.
The law also prohibits courts, except the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court, from issuing a temporary restraining order or writ of injunction against any provisional asset preservation order or an asset preservation order.
It also provides for confidentiality of collected data, requiring personnel from the AMLC and its secretariat to securely protect information they receive, and prohibits them from revealing any information their offices had obtained.
The prohibition would apply even after they leave the AMLC.
The breach of information security and confidentiality would be punishable by three to eight years of imprisonment and a fine of up to P1 million.
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