Sep 27, 2020

BSP probes 10 banks for links to money laundering scheme

Philippine monetary officials are now looking at information that about 10 banks received the alleged dirty money that passed through Ayala-led Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), through its partnership with Westpac Banking Corporation’s remittance arm.

Reports said BPI has “suspended indefinitely” its use of LitePay facility after Westpac reportedly violated Australia’s money laundering law 23 million times.

In an interview by journalists Tuesday, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier said BPI has submitted a partial report on the matter since the local bank was used as the entry-point of the funds into the domestic economy.

She said BPI has shared with authorities how much of the funds have been channeled to domestic universal and commercial banks (U/KBs), but she declined to give specifics.

“We are still in the process of verifying the information they shared with us,” she said.

Fonacier said they will also conduct onsite visits to the involved banks but said this will be done only after the review.

She said the transactions were not flagged because it involved small amounts that do not require reporting to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

Under AMLC rules, covered transactions include cash or other equivalent monetary instruments that surpass PHP500,000.

Fonacier said BSP investigation on this issue might be finished by next month since it is already in the second half of December, and there will be lots of holidays.

She is also open to the possibility that they will be in touch with Australian monetary officials but stressed that this will depend on the result of BSP investigation.

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