Philippines Clamps Down on Money Changers, Boosts Cyber Security

Philippine central bank will tighten rules and strengthen its online security unit to combat money laundering and cyber crimes, Governor Nestor Espenilla said Saturday.

Rules governing foreign-exchange dealers and remittance companies will be revised in the next two to three months, Espenilla told a forum in Mactan City, Cebu.

The Philippines has been in the spotlight after one of the largest bank heists in modern history, where thieves hacked into Bangladesh Bank’s account at the U.S. Federal Reserve in February and routed $81 million in funds to accounts at Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. The money was transferred by a remittance company into gaming halls.

The license of Philrem Service Corp., which transferred the bulk of the Bangladesh money, has been revoked by the central bank and the company has appealed the ruling. The central bank’s findings on Rizal Bank have been submitted to the Monetary Board, Espenilla said.

The heist raised questions about bank practices and the regulator is pressuring financial institutions to strictly implement checks on customers, Espenilla said.

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