Last February 15, 2013, the President signed into law Republic Act No. 10365 or the “Act Further Strengthening the Anti-Money Laundering Law.” True to its name, the third amending law to the Anti-Money Laundering Act (“AMLA”) gave it more teeth and strengthened the government’s ability to prevent and prosecute money laundering. The following discusses the new amendments to the AMLA.
Sections 1, 2 and 3
The first section of the amending law added the following to the list of covered persons under the AMLA. The amendment reads:
“Section 3(a). ‘Covered persons’, natural or juridical, refer to:
(4) jewelry dealers in precious metals, who, as a business, trade in precious metals, for transactions in excess of One million pesos (P1,000,000.00);
(5) jewelry dealers in precious stones, who, as a business, trade in precious stones, for transactions in excess of One million pesos (P1,000,000.00);
(6) company service providers which, as a business, provide any of the following services to third parties:
(i) acting as a formation agent of juridical persons;
(ii) acting as (or arranging for another person to act as) a director or corporate secretary of a company, a partner of a partnership, or a similar position in relation to other juridical persons;
(iii) providing a registered office, business address or accommodation, correspondence or administrative address for a company, a partnership or any other legal person or arrangement; and (iv) acting as (or arranging for another person to act as) a nominee shareholder for another person; and
(7) persons who provide any of the following services:
(i) managing of client money, securities or other assets;
(ii) management of bank, savings or securities accounts;
(iii) organization of contributions for the creation, operation or management of companies; and
(iv) creation, operation or management of juridical persons or arrangements, and buying and selling business entities.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the term ‘covered persons’ shall exclude lawyers and accountants acting as independent legal professionals in relation to information concerning their clients or where disclosure of information would compromise client confidences or the attorney-client relationship: Provided, That these lawyers and accountants are authorized to practice in the Philippines and shall continue to be subject to the provisions of their respective codes of conduct and/or professional responsibility or any of its amendments.”
It is noteworthy that the amendment excluded lawyers and accountants acting as independent legal professionals with respect to information concerning their clients and privileged communication.