Anti-Money Laundering

Hong Kong: Government Renews Anti-Money Laundering Guidelines

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Hong Kong has gazetted an anti-money laundering amendment notice that will allow its financial institutions to continue to delegate customer due diligence (CDD) functions.

The Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (Financial Institutions) Ordinance (AMLO) stipulates a set of customer due diligence (CDD) and record-keeping measures to be undertaken by financial institutions, in line with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force, the standard-setting body for the global efforts in anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing.  Such requirements are set out in Schedule 2 to the Ordinance.

The Notice amends the relevant provision so that financial institutions may continue to carry out the CDD measures through the relevant intermediaries for three additional years until March 31, 2018 which will expire after March 31, 2015.

EU-European Parliament Backs New Money Laundering Law

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The problem of money laundering has received increasing attention in recent years. Although many countries have their own money laundering laws the problem can be tackled more successfully with international cooperation. The European Parliament has voted in favor of draft anti-money laundering rules that would require the ultimate owners of companies and trusts to be listed in public registers in European Union (EU) countries. A legislative resolution on changes to the current anti-money laundering directive (AMLD) was passed by 643 votes to 30, with 12 abstentions.

If the amendments are passed they would provide for the establishment of a central public register in each EU state. The individual registers would then be interconnected across the European Union and be made publicly accessible, following prior identification of the person wishing to access the information via basic online registration. Privacy provisions would ensure that only the minimum information necessary was put on the register.

The proposals are intended to force banks, financial institutions, auditors, lawyers, accountants, tax advisers, and real estate agents to be more vigilant about “suspicious” transactions made by their clients. The AMLD provides for a risk-based approach, to enable EU member states to better identify, understand, and mitigate money laundering and terrorist financing risks.

Casinos are included in the scope of the draft rules, but other gambling services posing a low risk may be excluded by member states.