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The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has to decide if new anti-money laundering legislation, rushed into the Philippines’ statute, is satisfactory.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) watchdog has temporarily suspended its threat of counter measures while a review panel considers the legislation. In the wake of the 11 September attacks in New York, the OECD unleashed a initiative against those countries already labelled as uncooperative. The Philippines, one of the few large economies on the FATF’s blacklist, had been warned that it would face sanctions if it failed to instigate an anti-money laundering bill by the beginning of October. Act 9160 on money laundering was signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo the day before the deadline. Measures in place now include an anti-money laundering council with the power to freeze accounts deemed suspicious. Following this initial step, the council has 15 days to gain a court order permitting the acc-ounts to be opened and investigated. Only dubious accounts of more than Philippine Peso4m (£54,000) will fall within the council’s remit. It is thought that the FATF will be appeased by these measures, but there is concern about the fact that deposits made prior to the enactment of the law are exempt from scrutiny. FATF’s executive secretary Patrick Moulette said that punitive measures have only been suspended while the review group of legal, financial and law enforcement representatives examine the new law.