The Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) in the Philippines is prepared to take supervisory action after a review revealed financial businesses submitted incorrect filings in suspicious transaction reports (STRs), says executive director Mel Georgie Racela.

But the regulatory body will first complete further data discovery and full technical compliance checks before making any referrals to law enforcement, he added.

His comments come after the watchdog’s latest quality review showed 1.01m STRs were filed last year by banks, pawnshops, money service businesses and electronic money issuers.

The number could rise to 1.2m this year and 1.8m next if there is no AMLC intervention or change in circumstances, the review stated.

The incorrect filings relate to overuse of a catchall option as the reason for an STR: 29% of reports submitted were based on that option.

“After reading the narrative, it was very clear that the covered persons should have referred to one of the more specific circumstances in their filings, such as to indicate if a transaction is related to terrorism or terrorist financing,” Racela was quoted as saying by sector journal Regulation Asia.

“This was an eye opener for us. The incorrect filings identified will result in supervisory action, potential enforcement actions, and/or dialogue with covered persons.”

The AMLC will also carry out further process improvements to enable better future reporting by entities required to file STRs, he said

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