Senator urges probe into allegedly laundered Chinese millions
MANILA - Authorities should investigate some $446 million that allegedly entered the country and was likely laundered through mostly Chinese-run gambling hubs, Sen. Richard Gordon said Tuesday.
Of the total cash, Chinese individuals brought $210 million through airports from September 2019 to February 2020, while Filipinos brought in the rest, Gordon earlier said.
The Bureau of Customs reported the funds to the Anti-Money Laundering Council, Bureau of Internal Revenue, and the central bank as early as last year, he said.
"Imbestigahin na dapat agad iyan. San galing iyang pera na 'yan? Bakit ka pasok nang pasok ng pera, saan mo dinala iyan?" said Gordon, chair of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.
(That should be investigated immediately. Where was that money from? Why do you keep bringing in money, where did you take that?)
"Dapat kahit nag-disclose, kung sunod-sunod at ang dami-dami, hindi ka ba magtataka doon?
(Even if an individual disclosed the funds, won't you wonder why they keep bringing in money in very large sums?)
Under the law, individuals bringing in more than $10,000 in cash to the Philippines must declare it to authorities. Casinos should also alert the AMLC about individuals who bring in at least P5 million, said Gordon.
The $446 million that entered the country in the past 5 months, he said, was likely laundered in the country through the purchase of properties and investments in Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGOs), Gordon said in a Senate hearing on Tuesday.
The money, he said, could have been used to buy real estate properties and fund terror groups.
Gordon's committee will resume its inquiry on Thursday.
DZMM, March 4, 2020