THE Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) said it has detected the use by foreign nationals of Filipino dummies in the retail industry to get around foreign-ownership restrictions.
“The receiving and/or transacting of proceeds of illegal activities using the scheme and accounts set up by the Filipinos and foreign nationals for that purpose, is a violation of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, as amended,” the AMLC said in a report issued Thursday.
The regulator said it has taken note of Fiipinos registering retail businesses with the Department of Trade and Industry on behalf of the beneficial owners, who are foreign nationals.
The dummies then use the business registration permit to open bank accounts which will then be managed by the foreign nationals.
The AMLC said such bank accounts have been used by drug traffickers to store proceeds from the illegal trade, but laundered as retailing proceeds, which are often much higher than what a typical new retail business would generate.
The AMLC said it considered such large transactions to be possible red flags for drug activity, as was the use of several accounts by a single transactor and the use of different money service businesses to remit funds.
Separately, the AMLC said it renewed an agreement to share data with the Department of Finance (DoF) in the event the latter’s internal investigation service needs to look into the activities of the department’s employees and their families.
The two agencies updated a memorandum of agreement (MoA) granting the DoF Revenue Integrity Protection Service access to AMLC financial data in the event of possible money-laundering violations by DoF officials and their family members.
The AMLC is authorized to investigate and prosecuting persons suspected of money laundering, terrorism financing, and other violations of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001, as amended.
“As the country’s situation evolves, so does the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing. This MoA represents another chapter of collaboration and information-sharing between the DoF and the AMLC,” AMLC Executive Director Mel Georgie B. Racela said in a statement. — Luz Wendy T. Noble