The Philippines’ Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) has adopted rules that impose tougher sanctions and higher fines to individuals and banks found to have engaged in money laundering activities. Under the new rules and regulations, the council can impose administrative sanctions against violators of the Act.

According to the Philippines Central Bank Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier, the sanctions aim to encourage compliance with the law:

“The administrative sanctions are set to encourage adherence to the provisions of the [anti-money laundering laws.]"

Details of the amended rules

Under the new rules, the administrative sanctions could include penalty and non-penalty measures like fines, reprimands, warnings, and other appropriate actions to prevent and counteract money laundering activities.

The fines to be imposed against violators will be determined by the AMLC. The amount, however, should not exceed P500,000 per violation.

The new rules allow penalties to be assessed in accordance with the wealth of the accused. The rules create a “micro” classification for those with assets valued at P3 mln and below, “small” for those with assets worth P3-15 mln, and “medium” for those with assets valued at P15-100 mln. The other classifications are “large A” for those with assets valued at P100-500 mln and “large B” for those with assets worth P500 mln and up.

Fines imposed by the BSP

The country’s central bank, the BSP, has already penalized several financial institutions due to anti-money laundering violations. In 2016, the central bank meted out a record fine against Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) of P1 bln because it allowed itself to be used as a conduit in the laundering of $81 mln that was stolen by cybercriminals from Bangladesh Bank.