Manila plea to money-laundering watchdog

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 January, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 January, 2002, 12:00am

The Philippine Government yesterday appealed to the world's money-laundering watchdog now meeting in Hong Kong to be taken off its blacklist of non-complying countries.

'I am very optimistic that we are now on our way to being de-listed,' said Senator Francis Pangilinan, chairman of the Justice Committee of the Philippine Senate. He spoke in an exclusive interview with the South China Morning Post after presenting the Philippine case at a closed-door meeting yesterday of the Financial Action Task Force's working group on Non-Complying Countries and Territories (NCCTs).

The world's banks are required by their home regulators to prepare detailed reports on transactions with NCCTs, which can cause crippling delays to legitimate business deals and jeopardise genuine investment flows.

Mr Pangilinan said he appealed to the taskforce to fast-track the readmission of the Philippines to the organisation because its economic recovery was endangered by counter-measures already in force.

If the latest attempt for relief fails, the Philippines faces additional penalties because its new anti-money-laundering law passed last year was judged to be inadequate by the task force.

Officials from the taskforce were tight-lipped last night about their likely response to the appeal, but signs were that any decision would be delayed at least until after colleagues had visited the Philippines.

Clarie Lo Ku Ka-lee, the Hong Kong Commissioner for Narcotics who holds the presidency of the 29-country taskforce, said no comment would be made until a press conference was called on Friday after the taskforce meetings.