Archive for June, 2012

Vatican bank opens its doors to demonstrate Anti-money Laundering efforts

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

One of the most secretive institutions in the secrecy-obsessed Vatican, the Vatican bank, opened its doors to journalists in order to show that it is serious about fighting money-laundering and being more financially transparent.

During a 3-hour PowerPoint presentation, the director of the Vatican bank Paolo Cipriani outlined the peculiar nature of the Institute for Religious Works, the bank’s official name, and sought to refute media allegations that it has been not enough cooperative with requests for financial information from Italian authorities.

On March 7, 2012, International Narcotics Control Strategy Report was published where Washington’s list of 190 countries was revealed. The list countries in 3 categories: of primary concern, of concern and monitored. The Vatican was included into the 2nd category, along with 67 other nations including Poland, Ireland, Hungary, Egypt and Chile. The Vatican was added to the list because it is vulnerable to money laundering.

Philippines avoids Money Laundering Blacklist

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

It was announced by the Philippines that it had avoided an international blacklist on money laundering and terrorist financing after passing two 2 laws in June 2012.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has upgraded the Philippines to its “grey list” of countries that make sufficient progress in their action plans. Previously, the Philippines was in the FATF’s “dark grey list” of jurisdictions deemed not to be making sufficient progress.

President Benigno Aquino’s spokeswoman Abigail Valte said in a statement: “These reforms prevented the Philippines from being classified and downgraded to the ‘black list’, which would have resulted in stricter inspections of financial transactions in the country”.

The Philippines’ Anti-Money Laundering Council said the FATF had urged Manila to include bribery, public funds misuse, human trafficking, tax evasion and environmental crimes as grounds for a financial investigation.

Brunei introduces new Legislation to prevent Money Laundering

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Brunei has introduced anti-money laundering laws that grant enforcement agencies extensive powers to seize businesses, freeze accounts and compel individuals to list their assets through “unexplained wealth declarations”.

The Criminal Asset Recovery Order and amendments to Anti-Terrorism Order will be created to provide authorities with stronger tools for addressing financial crime

The new legislation significantly strengthen the powers of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), giving them the authority to suspend transactions, access and review information related to the government, financial institutions or non-financial businesses and professions (NFBP) such as realtors, lawyers, accountants and jewellers. All cash transactions above USD 15 000 made through these agents must be reported to FIU, failing which the individual could be jailed for up to five years and fined up to USD 50 000.

So, Know Your Customer (KYC) and Customer Due Diligence (CDD) guidelines used in banks currently become legally binding requirements.

The new rules aim to increase transparency as well as remove procedural complexities contained in previous laws. This legislation repeals the Anti-Money Laundering Act, the Drug Trafficking (Recovery of Proceeds) Act and the Criminal Conduct (Recovery of Proceeds Act) Order.

Guernsey hosts Major Anti-Corruption Conference

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Guernsey’s latest conference, titled ‘Puppet Masters’, was organised by the jurisdiction’s Anti-Bribery and Corruption Committee. It included an examination of legal structures and entities used in a number of corruption cases, on the back of a report on the matter from the World Bank.

Over 450 delegates attended this event. Among them, many international and local speakers presented at the conference. Domestic speakers included Guernsey organisers, the Law Officers’ Chambers, the Guernsey Border Agency and the Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC). International speakers included representatives of the World Bank and other experts who have covered subjects such as bribery, corruption, politically exposed persons, sanctions, international standards, criminal and civil law issues, and the practical effects of these on companies and individuals.

The Authority organised this conference with a view to provide industry with a deeper understanding of the wider impact of corruption, and increase awareness of corruption issues within the finance industry of Guernsey. The GFSC will soon issue new anti-corruption guidance for consultation on the back of areas discussed.

Nik van Leuven, Director General of the Guernsey Financial Services Commission, said: “The theft of public assets from the Third World is an immense problem, with a staggering impact. In more advanced economies, bribery and corruption are, but not infrequently, understood to be the usual way of life and commerce. The consequences for jurisdictions such as Guernsey should not be underestimated. The corrupt and their agents require financial facilities. It is therefore important for all jurisdictions with a significant finance industry to actively counter corruption.”

Mark de Garis, Assistant Chief Officer, Head of Cross Border Crime, Guernsey Border Agency added that the event provided a good opportunity to better define the escalating risk that local financial services face from overseas bribery and corruption and what can be done to help prevent or mitigate it. He noted: “It was extremely pleasing to see the conference so well attended, which in turn demonstrates how seriously financial services businesses treat this risk.”

Guernsey seeks comments on proposed Anti-Money Laundering guidance

Friday, June 8th, 2012

The Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC) has written to the managing directors of all financial services businesses to ask for comments on proposed changes to Anti-Money Laundering and the Countering the Financing of Terrorism guidance and handbooks.

The consultation in respect of requirements on financial services businesses relates to amendments to the Criminal Justice (Proceeds of Crime) (Financial Services Businesses) (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Regulations, 2007; the Handbook for Financial Services Businesses on Countering Financial Crime and Terrorist Financing; Schedules 1 and 2 to the Criminal Justice (Proceeds of Crime) (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 1999; and Schedule 1 to the Registration of Non-Regulated Financial Services Businesses (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2008. Also, comments are awaited on the proposed changes to the Criminal Justice (Proceeds of Crime) (Legal Professionals, Accountants and Estate Agents) (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Regulations, 2008; and the Handbook for Legal Professionals, Accountants and Estate Agents on Countering Financial Crime and Terrorist Financing.

The above-mentioned publications are provided by the Authority with a view to ensure that money launderers, terrorists, those who finance terrorism and other criminals cannot launder the proceeds of crime through Guernsey or its finance sector.

The Commission endorses the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on 40 Recommendations on Money Laundering and the 9 Special Recommendations on Terrorist Financing.