Manila– ThePhilippinesandIndonesiahave been removed from the anti-money laundering Financial Action Task Force (FATF) list of “non-cooperative countries and territories”. The list, drawn up by the Paris-based body, is now down from 20 to three, Myanmar,NauruandNigeria.
The FATF is among the international institutions tasked with stopping the flow of dirty money that, among otherthings,abets corruption and funds organised crime, such as drug-trafficking. In a post-911 world where international terrorism has emerged as a key concern, there has been an increased urgency to stop dirty money from being used to finance terrorist activities.
Until recently, thePhilippineshad been considered one of the hotspots for money laundering because international terrorists had been known to operate in the country. A brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden is believed to have used an Islamic charity in southernMindanaoto help finance the operations of the Abu Sayyaf and foreign Islamic militants.
The country was put on the FATF list after failing to institute reforms in its financial system to curb money-laundering. It was also seen as a major regional transshipment point for drug trafficking.
In a statement, the FATF said: “TheCook Islands,Indonesiaand thePhilippineshave anti-money laundering systems that include strict customer identification, suspicious transaction reporting, bank examinations, and legal capacities to investigate money laundering.”
Both countries expressed their delight at being taken off the list.
Philippine President Gloria Arroyo said: “Our graduation from the FATF is a vote of confidence from the international community of our efforts to clean up the mess of the past, enforce good governance, and support global security.”
InJakarta, Coordinating Minister for Economy Affairs, Mr Aburizal Bakrie, saidIndonesia’s exclusion from the list would l enhance foreign confidence in the country.
* RP out of int’l ‘dirty money’ blacklist; Arroyo ecstatic (Inquirer News Service, Feb 12)
* Indonesia removed from NCCT list (Antara, Feb 12)