Press Release
November 29, 2012


As of 12 noon yesterday (28 November 2012), the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) was able to obtain a freeze order in a timely manner from the Court of Appeals. A total of PHP156, 763, 663.86 in funds had been frozen since yesterday. This amount may still increase further as banks and other covered institutions are still submitting returns to the Court of Appeals and the search for funds and other assets of the Aman Group and its officers continues. I commend the prudent and lawful action of the AMLC in freezing the bank accounts of those involved in the Aman Futures investment scam.

To ensure that freeze orders are valid and access of scammers to their bank accounts are effectively severed, anti-money laundering action should always be tempered with strong belief that a predicate crime has in fact been committed. Careless and rushed action against ill-gotten funds of criminals could be grounds for dismissal on technical grounds.

The AMLC cannot just freeze any asset, funds or property. It must convince the Court of Appeals that there is probable cause that the asset, fund or property subject of the petition for a freeze order is in any way related to an unlawful activity. A freeze order cannot be issued on the basis of mere suspicion, "red flag" or the mere unusual movements of funds.

In the Aman Futures controversy, AMLC acted based on solid evidence. This brings the victims a step closer to recovering lost funds from the criminals. At this point, we must determine if affected banks exercised vigilance in dutifully reporting Aman Group transactions to the AMLC.

Scams are being perpetrated all over the country. To stop scams on their tracks, it is massively important for banks to be extremely vigilant in their duty of informing the AMLC about doubtful transactions so no person will ever be scammed in this country.

As I commend the AMLC, I will continue to push for the immediate approval of SBN 3213 which gives teeth to the existing Anti-Money Laundering Law in tightening the noose against ill-gotten funds.

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