Duterte signs law to include casinos under dirty money watch

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 19 2017 12:12 PM | Updated as of Jul 19 2017 12:41 PM

A casino dealer collects chips at a roulette table in Pasay City. Erik De Castro, Reuters/file

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law that will place casinos under money laundering scrutiny, plugging a loophole that aided a $81-billion heist on Bangladesh's foreign reserves last year.

The new law, a copy of which was released by the President's office, requires the reporting of casino transactions worth at least P5 million to the Anti Money Laundering Council.

The coverage of the law was also expanded to include internet and ship-based casinos.

"This is a very welcome development. It plugs a critical gap in our legal framework. It will significantly strengthen our ability to prevent the entry of illicit money into our economy," Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Nestor Espenilla said in a statement.

In February last year, unidentified hackers shifted $81 million from Bangladesh's account with the New York Federal Reserve to four accounts at an RCBC branch in Makati.

The money was later moved to casinos, which were then exempted from dirty money watchdogs' scrutiny at that time.

Read about the $81-million Bangladesh heist here.