Monday, April 4, 2016

Higher charges for OFWs in remitting money seen due to $81-M heist

OFWs may have to pay more in remitting money to their loved ones in the Philippines as a result of the $81-million scam that exposed holes in the country's anti-money laundering law, a recruitment consultant said Friday.
In a statement, Emmanuel Geslani said the international branches of the biggest banks in the country may close down in Europe, USA, Australia, and New Zealand due to pressure to strictly comply with the anti-money laundering rules of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
The FATF is an intergovernmental organization tasked to promote measures "combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system."
"OFWs who have accounts in the Philippines with the banks that could easily transfer their funds will now have to use money-transfer companies in those countries to send money to their families," Geslani said.
"These companies have rates that go higher depending on the amount of money sent by the OFW," he added.
At least one bank, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC), has shut down its remittance operations in Italy, but said it has nothing to do with the $81-million money laundering scam. It said the closure was due to its failure to comply with "the computer systems capabilities required of it" by Italy's central bank.
The Yuchengco-led company's branch in Jupiter, Makati City, has figured prominently in the scam.
Because of the possibility of higher remittance rates, Geslani joined the calls for the amendment of the country's anti-money laundering law.
Geslani was not the first one to fear the possible backlash of the issue to OFWs. Last month, OFW advocate and senatorial candidate Susan Ople said remittance rates will skyrocket if the country is blacklisted by the FATF.
"Being blacklisted by FATF will mean higher cost of remittance for OFWs," said Ople, who chairs the Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute. —Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News

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