Manila money changer ordered closed by BSP

Lawrence Agcaoili – The Philippine Star

September 2, 2023 | 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has ordered the closure of Cosmic Money Exchange (CMX) for failing to comply with anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) provisions and other regulations.

BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier said the central bank issued Resolution 276.A cancelling the registration of CMX as a money service business to operate as a money changer, foreign exchange dealer pursuant to Section 901-N of the Manual of Regulations for Non-Bank Financial Institutions (MORNBFI).

“This is in view of the serious violations and non-compliance with Republic Act 9160 or the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001, as amended, and its 2018 implementing rules and regulations, Section 601-N, in relation to Part 9 of the MORNBFI-Q regulations, and its deed of undertaking as a money service business,” Fonacier said.

CMX is located along Mabini Street in Ermita, Manila.

As part of the BSP’s intensified campaign against illegal money service businesses in the country, it cancelled the registration of two money changer and foreign exchange dealer in July as well as blacklisted six more unregistered entities operating in Pasay, Makati, and Pampanga in June.

Aside from the gross violation of the provisions and requirements of the MORNBFI, other grounds for the cancellation of the registration of both companies include non-registration with the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) and violation of the duly executed deed of undertaking with the central bank.

On the other hand, the six companies have been disqualified from registering or obtaining a license from the central bank to engage in any activity supervised by the regulator, for engaging in money service business without prior BSP registration.

The regulator wants to make sure that money service businesses are not used as a venue for money laundering and terrorism financing activities.

Money service business entities include remittance agent and sub-agent, remittance platform provider, electronic or e-money issuer, as well as money changer or foreign exchange dealer.

The number of registered money service businesses operating nationwide rose by 1.8 percent to 7,584 in 2022 from 7.449 in 2021. This consisted of 743 head offices and 6,841 branches.