Manila told to redraft money laundering law

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 February, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 February, 2002, 12:00am

The Philippines has failed in its bid to be removed from the group of countries and territories black-listed by the global anti-money laundering watchdog.

The 29-nation Financial Action Task Force (FATF) said yesterday after its week-long meeting in Hong Kong that the Philippines had been ordered back to the drawing board to redraft the anti-money laundering act it passed in September.

FATF head Clarie Lo Ku Ka-lee said: 'We had a number of face-to-face meetings with non-complying countries and territories and in the case of the Philippines we noted that the Government implemented the anti-money laundering act but that there were still some deficiencies that have been identified and which have to be addressed.'

Mrs Lo is the Commissioner for Narcotics in Hong Kong and holds the FATF presidency this year.

The Pacific island of Nauru also was instructed to tighten its anti-money-laundering regime, with particular attention put on its licensing and regulation, as well as the supervision of its offshore banking sector.

However, another of the non-compliant countries - Hungary - emerged with a glowing report after the assessment and was singled out by Mrs Lo for the rapid and significant progress it had made to eliminate deficiencies identified in its laws.

Along with St Kitts and Nevis, Hungary has been invited to show how it plans to implement its legislation.

Following the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, the 29-member Paris-based FATF was asked to co-ordinate a global campaign to crack down on terrorist financing, producing eight special recommendations which members have been urged to implement by June.

Among the eight measures were legislative enactments to recognise United Nations resolutions on terrorist funding, and to criminalise such funding activity.

Non-members also have been urged to adopt the measures, with Mrs Lo saying progress had been made on this front since October.

'The FATF is pleased that some regional groups have already endorsed the eight special recommendations and developed their own plans of action to combat the financing of terrorism,' she said.

In addition, many countries which are not FATF members have indicated their wish to join the global fight against terrorist financing.

'FATF therefore intends to invite all countries in the world to undergo a self-assessment exercise against the eight special recommendations on the same terms as FATF members,' she said.

Mrs Lo said investigations by Hong Kong banks to establish whether any terrorist funding had passed through SAR accounts had found no evidence of this happening.

Hong Kong, meanwhile, was on track to introduce a bill before the legislative assembly this month aimed at implementing the United Nations Security Council resolution on terrorist financing.