The significance of money laundering. The example of the Philippines

Publication Date01 Jul 2006
AuthorJeffrey Simser
SubjectAccounting & finance
The significance of money
The example of the Philippines
Jeffrey Simser
Civil Remedies for Illicit Activities Office, Ministry of the Attorney General,
Toronto, Canada
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine money laundering generally and the response of
one jurisdiction, the Philippines, to international pressure for anti-money laundering measures.
Design/methodology/approach – Money laundering is examined and described. The source of
international consensus around the problem is considered. The multilateral response, including the
pressure placed on the Philippines as a formerly non-compliant jurisdiction is examined. The initial
measures of the Philippines were rejected. Finally the Philippine solutions that ultimately met with
international approval are discussed: the establishment of a financial intelligence unit, the regulation
of financial intermediaries and the provision of criminal and remedial measures are considered. Civil or
non-conviction based forfeiture as a remedial device is given particular attention. Finally the limited
jurisprudence on topic is examined.
Findings – The Republic of the Philippines has put forward anti-money laundering provisions that
hold the prospect for success. Implementation will be challenging.
Research limitations/implications – Jurisprudence is still developing. This type of litigation
takes time. As the financial investigation unit, the intermediaries and the courts respond to cases, there
will be developments worthy of further research.
Practical implications – This paper looks at an international problem, money laundering, the
multi-lateral response (only Nigeria and Myanmar are non-compliant) and the impact on the
Philippines, their financial institutions and laws.
Originality/value – There is no comprehensive overview of the Philippine anti-money laundering
law currently available. There is a book published out of Manila (quoted in the paper) but it is out of
date and has not caught up to recent developments.
Keywords Money laundering,Criminal forfeiture, Philippines
Paper type Research paper
A remarkable international consensus has developed around the issue of money
laundering in the last decade. This paper canvasses the implications of that consensus
in one jurisdiction, the Republic of the Philippines[1]. Up until February 11, 2005, the
Philippines had been in the list of non-cooperative countries and territories (NCCT)
maintained by the Paris based Financial Action Task Force (FATF)[2]. Removal from
that NCCT list led to government predictions of greater investment inflow and
newspapers lauding the “blacklist” decision[3]. The prospect of continued membership
in a rapidly diminishing club could not have been appealing: in 2004, Egypt, the
Ukraine and Guatemala had been removed from the list; in 2005, Nauru abolished 400
shell banks and was removed from the list; only Myanmar and Nigeria remain at the
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not represent the views of Ministry of
the Attorney General or the Government of Ontario.
The significance
of money
Journal of Money Laundering Control
Vol. 9 No. 3, 2006
pp. 293-302
qEmerald Group Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/13685200610681814

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