MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine central bank continues to crack down on money changers who violate anti-money laundering rules, and another has recently been stripped of its Monetary Board.
In a statement, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said its political body canceled the registration certificate as a currency trader or money changer at a company called Nashima Money Changer.
Without specifying breaches, the BSP said that this money changer was found to be in breach of the central bank rules for the operation of non-bank financial institutions, in particular those relating to rules laid down in the Money Laundering Act.
This is the fifth money changer that BSP has closed this month after stricter law enforcement that began in 2020.
Three weeks ago, BSP shut down a money changer in Laoag and three others operating at the same location in Mandaluyong City, permanently preventing them from performing any kind of financial service.
These companies are LM’s Money Changer or LM’s Money Changing Services at Laoag City Public Market in Ilocos Norte owned by Monique Diana Castro, Adahn Money Changer owned by Tandiko Ajibon Boyo, Mudzmar Money Changing Services owned by Farida Adjula and Zhenrihada Money Changing Services owned by Tadzmahal Andag.
The central bank explained that these companies were found without BSP registration in violation of the agency’s rules and regulations governing operations. They were also in breach of reporting obligations for non-banking entities involved in money transfer and currency change or currency trading.
In late 2020, the Anti-Money Laundering Council – as chaired by BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno – called on financial sector stakeholders to remain cautious and aware of growing evidence that criminal elements have become more active as a result of the pandemic.
Diokno said that the proper procedures for customer customer and due diligence for customers should always be performed while customers ’risk assessments should be periodically assessed.
According to the Dirty Money Watchdog, suspicious transaction reports for the period increased by 57 percent compared to the same months in 2019.
Of the total number of suspicious transactions, however, only 29 percent occurred between the start of the lockout in March and until the end of August 2020. Submissions of red flags from electronic money issuers increased by 688 percent, while pawn shops and money service companies increased by 51 percent.
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