Kenya - The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) is seeking an enhanced membership in the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (Iosco) to access more fraud and intelligence reports involving listed firms and market intermediaries.
It has started the process that will see it move from Iosco’s Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MMoU) status to the Enhanced MMoU, which will afford it improved enforcement powers including access to audit working papers and telephone records of errant firms and persons operating within and outside Kenya.
Director of Regulatory Policy and Strategy at CMA, Luke Ombara said capital markets have undergone sweeping changes driven by technology, and therefore presented fresh challenges that require increased cooperation to rein in errant players.
“There is normally a questionnaire that you must fill. We have done so and still consulting internally and with fellow regulators across the country to put their input. Then it will be presented to Iosco for assessment,” Ombara told the Business Daily.
Current CMA’s membership status is limiting since it requires that members sign many bilateral agreements with each other for information sharing to be effected, he said.
This means that a regulator ends up missing intelligence information from another member in the MMoU if the two have not signed a bilateral agreement with each other.
“We are signatories to MMoU but it is limiting. Therefore, by becoming a signatory to the enhanced MMoU, we will be able to get information from any regulator across the globe without the bilateral agreements,” explained Ombara.
Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, has stated that international regulatory action on cryptocurrencies is "inevitable."
Lagarde, who is the managing director of the international organization that aims to foster global financial stability, said that the IMF's concerns over cryptocurrencies stem largely from their potential use in illicit financial activities.
In an interview with CNNMoney on Feb. 11, she said: "We are actively engaging in anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism. And that reinforces our determination to work on those two directions."
Lagarde further explained that the regulatory direction should be activity-based, focusing on "who is doing what, and whether they're properly licensed and supervised."
While the new comments are largely in line with Lagarde's already public views on cryptocurrency, it indicates the IMF may be moving to be more actively involved in preventing the illicit use of cryptocurrency.
On multiple occasions, Lagarde has previously cautioned that cryptocurrencies should be taken seriously and called for global cooperation among worldwide regulators. And she is not alone in voicing concerns over use of cryptocurrency in cross-border financial crimes.
According to an earlier report by CoinDesk, during the Davos World Economic Forum in late January, several worldwide leaders shared the same sentiment, including the U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, French President Emmanuel Macron and the secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department Steven Mnuchin.
And, just last week, senior officials from France and Germany called for the G20 group of nations to discuss cooperative action on cryptocurrencies ahead of a summit next month.
The Central Bank of Libya (CBL) congratulated Faiez Serraj, head of the Presidency Council and his GNA Minister of Justice for their efforts which culminated in removing Libya from the list of ‘non cooperative countries and territories’ on the FATF financing of terrorism blacklist.
The bank said the decision by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to remove Libya from the non-coopering countries list will have positive impact and reinforces confidence of international economic and financial institutions in Libya’s financial and banking institutions.
The decision indicates that FATF recognizes Libya’s compliance with international standards for fighting money laundering and financing of terrorism, the CBL said.
Libya has been placed on the FATF list in 2015.
FATF is a Paris-based intergovernmental organization established in 1989 to develop policies to combat money laundering and terrorism financing internationally.
TOKYO - Japanese police said Thursday they received reports on 669 cases of suspected money laundering linked to cryptocurrencies from virtual currency exchange operators between April and December.
The data came after cryptocurrency bourse operators were obliged to report transactions suspected of involving money laundering following a revision last April of a law to prevent the transfer of criminal proceeds.
Although the National Police Agency has not disclosed what prompted exchange operators to report the cases, questionable transactions repeated frequently in a short span of time are believed to be among the reasons.
Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, ethereum and ripple allow quick and easy transactions while keeping users anonymous. But they have been used in illegal drug transactions and in payments for downloading child pornography.
In Japan, 16 cryptocurrency exchange operators are currently registered based on the revised law on payment services.
Ensuring security measures has been a challenge in the industry as Coincheck Inc, which has yet to have its application for government registration approved, failed to safeguard against the theft of around 58 billion yen ($540 million) worth of NEM currency in January.
Meanwhile, the overall number of suspected money-laundering cases, including those reported by financial institutions, stood at 400,043 cases in 2017, down 1,048 cases from a year earlier, the police said.
The most reports came from banks and other financial institutions, totaling 346,595 cases, followed by credit card companies at 15,448 cases and credit unions at 13,259 cases.
Australian authorities are making progress with revisions to the AML/CTF bill which will include bitcoin exchanges under the scope of Australian legislation for the first time. The Australian Parliament published newly updated provisions today, part of a wider reform of the government’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) laws. In it, the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee has prioritized the regulation of digital currency exchange operators, among other objectives, under the purview of the Australian Transactions and Reporting Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), the country’s financial intelligence agency and watchdog. Underlining the recommended regulatory move as an industry ‘best practice’, the committee added: “AGD observed that the Report on the Statutory Review recommended the application of the AML/CTF Act and the Regulations to digital currencies and digital exchange providers”. The highlights specific to digital currency exchanges are: -The bill will enable new powers conferred on AUSTRAC’s chief executive, enabling the official to “make rules to expand or narrow the scope of the digital currency definition.” -A number of civil penalties will be introduced for unregistered operators of digital currency exchange services, all of which are subject to strict liability. -A new designated service and register to regulate digital currency exchanges will be established within six months of the bill’s legislation. The committee’s approach to regulation is aided by a review of the current law, complete with recommendations by the Attorney-General’s Department (AGD). Citing some concerns toward the six-month timeframe for reforms is the Law Council, which called for guidance on possible exemptions for ‘low value’ transactions below $1,000 at bitcoin exchanges. The Law Council also called the notion imprisonment due to aggravated offences, aside from strict liability offences, between 2-4 years and even up to 7 years in extreme cases as “draconian”. Pointedly, today’s report pointed to concerns from Australian bitcoin startup Living Room of Satoshi, a payments company that enables Australians to settle their bills with bitcoin. The startup has seen meteoric growth, processing $5 million in household bills with the cryptocurrency since its launch in April 2014. The bitcoin startup called for an exemption from regulation for low-value payments made with digital currencies under $1,000. An excerpt from committee’s revisions read: “Living Room of Satoshi submitted that the application of AML/CTF regulations on low value payments would be a significant hindrance to retail businesses that accept payments under $1000 in digital currency form. It submitted that an exemption for low value payments should be included as part of the bill to limit the impact on small businesses”. Ultimately, the committee recommended the bill be passed. www.cryptocoinsnews.com
The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has launched a consultation over the supervisory approach to be adopted by the new Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS).
The government announced its intention to create OPBAS as a function within the FCA in March and last week published draft regulations which will give powers to the new body.
OPBAS will supervise 22 professional bodies affected by anti-money laundering (AML) requirements, including the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, the Law Society of England and Wales and the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the Bar Council and the Bar Standards Board, and similar bodies in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
It will have information gathering powers, the power to commission independent reports, and direction issuing powers. OPBAS will be able to review professional body supervisors and will take over the collection of annual AML questionnaires, which are currently submitted to the Treasury.
If a professional supervisory body falls short of its standards, OPBAS will have a range of powers including the ability to recommend that a body be removed from its supervisory role.
The FCA consultation suggests that additional costs incurred through the creation of OPBAS are likely to be passed on to professionals via increased fees.
The FCA is asking for responses to its consultation on issues including the proposed sourcebook for professional body supervisors with regard to OPBAS, and the cost-benefit analysis of the new body, by 23 October.
AMMAN, Jordan - Containing and disrupting transnational terrorist groups active in the Middle East and Southeast Asia was the focus of an INTERPOL working meeting in Jordan.
Funded by the INTERPOL Foundation for a Safer World, and bringing together more than 50 officers from 13 countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Southeast Asia, the three-day (18 – 20 September) meeting served to boost counter-terrorism intelligence sharing in the targeted regions.
Co-hosted by INTERPOL and the Royal Jordan Police, this was the first INTERPOL meeting of its kind to bring together counter-terrorism experts from such diverse regions.
“Jordan stands strong with INTERPOL in the global battle against terrorism and transnational crime. We are grateful to INTERPOL for its continued support in helping member countries tackle transnational crime, consistently providing us with the capabilities we need to tackle terrorism,” said Major General Dawoud Hakouz of the Royal Jordan Police.
The meeting was part of INTERPOL’s global counter-terrorism strategy aimed at helping member countries contain and disrupt transnational terrorist activities through the identification of members of terrorist networks and by tackling the main factors enabling their activities: travel and mobility, online presence, weapons and materials, and finances.
“With INTERPOL increasingly perceived by national and regional partners as a key international partner in the fight against terrorism, our new approach to counter-terrorism capacity building is to connect different regions who face common terrorism threats even though they are geographically far apart,” said Assistant Director of INTERPOL’s Counter-Terrorism unit, Karel Pelán.
“The Royal Jordan Police enjoys a strong, long-standing with law enforcement around the world. By organizing key strategic meetings like this we are providing counter-terrorism experts from different countries and regions with an exclusive, secure venue to share their security challenges,” said Colonel Jehad Qudah, Head of the INTERPOL National Central Bureau in Jordan.
Countries participating in the meeting were Australia, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.
Australia is moving to introduce a new bill that would extend the country's anti-money laundering (AML) rules to cover domestic cryptocurrency exchanges.
In a statement this morning, the Ministry of Justice announced that the legislation would seek to bring exchanges within the jurisdiction of the Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), the country's chief financial intelligence office.
The effort dates back to mid-2016, when the government released a broad-ranging statement on financial technologies.
As the government explained today:
"The bill will ... close a regulatory gap by bringing digital currency exchange providers under the remit of AUSTRAC; strengthen AUSTRAC's investigation and enforcement powers; increase police and customs officers' search and seizure powers at the border; and provide regulatory relief to industry through the deregulation of low-risk industry sectors."
Australian lawmakers reaffirmed their intention to develop a new law of this nature last year. At the time, the Attorney-General's Department's indicated its support for such a move, calling for existing statutes to receive a legislative update.
It remains to be seen whether the measure – for which a release date has not been revealed – will face opposition once lawmakers begin debating it. As reported by CoinDesk, at least a few legislators in Australia want to see bitcoin named an official currency, indicating that at least some may push back against the AML effort.
The move comes months after Australia ended a much-maligned "double tax" on bitcoin purchases, a policy shift that was long sought by members of the country's cryptocurrency community.
in place earlier this month forbidding the funding of initial coin offerings (ICOs). The Central Bank of China said at the time that ICOs have “disrupted the economic and financial order.”
jointly said the ICO exists as an unauthorized fundraising effort which may, in fact, be tied up in such scams. The roster of government entities issuing the warning statement included the People’s Bank of China and the China Banking Regulatory Commission, among others.
KIEV - Ukraine's justice ministry carried out trial auctions using blockchain technology for the first time on Wednesday, part of an effort to improve transparency in government transactions.
The project is part of a broader drive by the Ukrainian authorities to modernize state institutions and eliminate corruption, in exchange for a $40 billion bailout from the International Monetary fund and other donors.
In April, global technology firm the Bitfury Group announced it was working with Ukraine to put a wide range of government data on a blockchain platform - a ledger of transactions that permanently records and tracks assets or transactions.
The justice ministry has started using the technology for auctioning seized assets and plans to transfer state property and land registries to the platform by the end of the year, deputy minister Serhiy Petukhov said.
"We want to make the system of selling seized assets more transparent and secure so that the information there is accessible to everyone, so that there aren't concerns about possible manipulation," he said at a briefing.
Ukraine has won praise for reform efforts, such as a wealth- declaration tool for officials and an online procurement system.
Islamabad: Acting Chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Imtiaz Tajwar has said that the capacity building course of NAB workforce in line with the international best practices which will help improve the performance of NAB investigation Officers/Prosecutors.
Addressing a concluding training ceremony on Anti Money Laundering and Public Corruption for NAB Investigation officers and Prosecutors in Collaboration with US Department of Justice / International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP), here Friday, he said that recently US Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement has handed over a Video Spectral Comparator 8000, state-of-the-art forensics document analyzer to NAB that would assist the bureau with identifying fraudulent documents, including travel and identity documents, banknotes, cheques, and official letters.
According to a press release issued here, he said that NAB is the apex Anti-Corruption Agency of the country with the mandate to eradicate corruption in Pakistan. NAB is also the focal agency under United Nations Convention on Anti-Corruption (UNCAC). He said that NAB is the only Anti-Corruption Agency which has prescribed timeline for efficient, effective and expeditious disposal of cases putting a maximum time limit of 10 months.
He said that NAB has also introduced a new System of Combine Investigation Team (CIT) in order to benefit from the experience and collective wisdom of senior supervisory officers. This system is not only lending quality to the work but also ensuring that no single individual can influence the proceedings.
He said that concept of CIT has proved very successful in order to improve quality of inquiry and investigations and benefit from the experience and collective wisdom of senior officers.
He said that NAB always accords high priority to the capacity building of its Investigation Officers and Prosecutors in line with International standards, best practices and lesson learnt. In addition to the NAB's in house training programs, collaboration in capacity building with National International Agencies are always welcomed.
During the ceremony, INL-P Director Gregory K. Schiffer stated that Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs works in more than 90 countries to help countries combat crime and corruption, counter drug-related crime, improve police institutions, and promote laws and court systems that are fair and accountable.
He appreciated NAB's efforts in eradication of corruption. He said that capacity building of NAB's investigation officers/Prosecutors and provision of new forensics equipment to NAB will help in investigation of corruption cases, not only for NAB, but for other law enforcement agencies as well.
The Acting Chairman NAB thanked International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs for its partnership and support in helping NAB to achieve its mission of eliminating corruption in Pakistan, both through training and equipment support.
He appreciated the efforts of US Department of Justice/ICITAP, US Embassy, Islamabad and Training and Research Division NAB for their collaborative efforts in capacity building of NAB workforce in line with the international best practices.
BEIJING, (Xinhua) - The Chinese government will coordinate supervision to fight money laundering, terrorist financing and tax evasion, according to a guideline made public Wednesday.
By 2020, China should be able to effectively prevent and control money laundering, terrorist financing and tax evasion by improving laws and regulations and coordinating the work of different government departments, said the guideline on the website of the State Council, China's cabinet.
Since China's anti-money laundering law became effective in 2007, supervision has improved. However, the supervision mechanism is far from perfect, inter-departmental information sharing is insufficient and China's international participation in this field does not match its international status.
China will reinforce coordination of government supervision on the basis of an inter-departmental joint meeting on money laundering, and work out an overall strategy and important measures, the guideline said.
The country should also improve the legislation related to money laundering and terrorist financing crime, and strengthen risk monitoring and supervision on non-financial entities, including real estate agencies and precious metal and jewelry sales companies.
China should expand information sources for monitoring money laundering activities, and improve the supervision of abnormal cross-border capital flow to prevent and crack down on cross-border financial crimes, according to the document.
On 6 and 7 September 2017, over 550 police chiefs and senior law enforcement representatives from all over the world gathered at Europol’s headquarters for the 2017 European Police Chiefs Convention (EPCC).
Co-hosted by Europol and the Estonian Police in the context of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU, this year’s convention was the largest ever gathering of police chiefs and senior representatives from law enforcement authorities since the first EPCC organised by Europol in 2011. The event saw the participation of high-level representatives from the EU Member States, as well as 23 non-EU countries. Representatives from six EU organisations (European Commission, Council of the European Union, FRONTEX, CEPOL, EU IPO and EUNAVFOR MED), eight international institutions (INTERPOL, Euromed Police, World Customs Organization (WCO), UNHCR, International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) , the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCCPOL) and the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime), alongside experts from the private sector and academia, also attended the event.
Participants discussed main issues concerning the security of the EU and beyond, including: the spread of terrorist and violent extremist propaganda online and law enforcement’s response; the use of financial intelligence as a critical tool for successful counter-terrorism and organised crime investigations; crime in the age of technology; cybercrime; and migrant smuggling.
Rob Wainwright, Europol’s Executive Director said: ‘’The complexity of the threats we face, particularly in this age of technology, requires strong cross-border law enforcement cooperation. Only by working together across traditional boundaries, and by enhancing the exchange of information and expertise, can we efficiently combat transnational criminal groups and terrorists. The 2017 EPCC, with an incredibly strong representation from the international law enforcement community, provides a unique platform for the EU Member States and partner countries to strengthen our cooperation and to tackle together the biggest challenges facing law enforcement today.’’
Alongside the European Police Chiefs Convention, three major meetings were held at Europol: a high-level meeting of the European Police Chiefs and Heads of Counter Terrorism Services (EPCC CT) to discuss joint measures to counter terrorism and terrorist propaganda; EUROMED meeting; and the European Customs DG meeting.
During this year’s EPCC, a total of 146 bilateral and multilateral meetings took place in the margins of the event, which involved more than 1400 participants. This allowed chiefs of police and high-level representatives to share strategies on operational matters and further strengthen their cooperation.
Bankers formed an association of anti-money laundering compliance officers with an aim to work closely and effectively with the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit and other regulatory authorities, the association said in a statement yesterday.
The association said the move would help them in combating money laundering and terrorist financing and in efforts to extend cooperation to relevant agencies.
The chief anti-money laundering compliance officers (CAMLCO) and their deputies will be representing their respective banks in the association.
The association elected Faruq Mainuddin, chief anti-money laundering compliance officer of City Bank, as its chairman and Swapan Kumar Biswas, Mutual Trust Bank's CAMLCO, as the general secretary.
The association also elected vice chairmen from Janata Bank and Standard Chartered Bank, treasurer from Islami Bank Bangladesh and joint secretaries from Dhaka Bank and Bank Asia.
Other members of the executive committee have been taken from National Bank, Sonali Bank, United Commercial Bank, Eastern Bank, Dutch-Bangla Bank, One Bank, Exim Bank and NRB Bank.
The Swedish Parliament has passed a new law concerning registration of beneficial owners (Sw. Lag (2017:631) om registrering av verkliga huvudmän), an implementation of the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive, which entered into force on 1 August 2017. The purpose of the law is to increase the transparency regarding the ownership and the control of companies, associations and other legal entities in order to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing. The law prescribes, in essence, that legal entities are obligated to notify the Swedish Companies Registration Office who their beneficial owners are.
The obligation to register beneficial ownership comprises Swedish legal entities, foreign legal entities operating in Sweden and natural persons with domicile in Sweden who administer trusts or similar legal constructions. Exempted from the obligation are the government, county councils and municipalities as well as legal entities over which these have a significant control, limited companies with voting shares admitted to trading on a regulated market within the EEA or a equivalent market outside the EEA, as well as estates of deceased and bankrupt persons.
A beneficial owner is a natural person who, alone or together with someone else, ultimately owns or controls a legal entity, or a natural person who benefits from someone who is acting on his or her behalf.
In certain cases, a natural person is assumed under the law to exercise ultimate control of a legal entity. Examples are when the person due to his or her shareholding or membership controls more than 25 per cent of the total number of votes in the legal entity, when the person has the right to appoint or resign more than half of the legal entity’s board members or corresponding management or when a person is able to exercise equivalent control through agreements with the owners, members or the legal entity, or through the provisions in the articles of association, through shareholder agreements or similar documents.
The new and most significant obligations for legal entities are that they must obtain reliable information on who their beneficial owners are and the nature and extent of the beneficial owner’s interest in the legal entity which must be submitted to the Swedish Companies Registration Office.
If the information on beneficial ownership is missing or if reliable information cannot be obtained, the legal entity must nonetheless provide information about the lack of information. The legal entity must, at the request of an authority, provide without delay information about its beneficial owners and documentation on the investigation made to assess the beneficial ownership. The legal entity must also notify the Companies Registration Office without delay of any change in beneficial ownership.
If the notification is incomplete, not submitted or contains incorrect information, the Swedish Companies Registration Office may impose a conditional fine on the legal entity, the managing director, a board member or other equivalent executives to submit a notification. The same applies to a refusal of disclosure to an authority. If the injunction is not complied with, the Swedish Companies Registration Office may impose the fine. Thereafter, the Swedish Companies Registration Office may impose a new increased conditional fine.
MANAGUA, Nicaragua - INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock has said that the Organization’s member countries need an international response to regional and international crime threats.
Speaking in Managua at the opening of the 23rd Commission of Police Chiefs and Directors of Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean and Colombia (CJDPCAMCC), Secretary General Stock said INTERPOL’s proven international cooperation network underpins regional efforts against transnational crime.
“There is already an established cooperation network against transnational crime. Law enforcement needs to avoid duplicating its efforts and creating competing parallel systems when INTERPOL’s global system already serves regional needs,” said Secretary General Stock.
With Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Panama members of the regional Commission of Police Chiefs and Directors, the INTERPOL Chief said it was also important to learn first-hand about the operational needs of law enforcement in the region, and to adapt to these.
“In the face of an evolving crime landscape, INTERPOL is constantly working to adapt its global policing capabilities and operational activities to respond to the needs of police at the frontlines,” added Secretary General Stock.
Chaired by the Director General of the National Police of Nicaragua, Aminta Granera Sacasa, the regional Commission of Police Chiefs and Directors committed to strengthen the role of their National Central Bureaus within their respective police organizations in order to better coordinate information exchange and contribute to an effective global response.
Amongst INTERPOL’s operational activities in the region, Project CRIMJUST aims to strengthen cooperation between law enforcement and judicial agencies against transnational crime networks involved in the cocaine route from Latin America, the Caribbean and West Africa.
INTERPOL has also coordinated a series of intensive intelligence-led Amazonas operations to investigate and prosecute criminals, and identify and dismantle international criminal networks, involved in the illegal trade of timber from South America.
In addition, INTERPOL’s Project Fortaleza provides Latin American and Caribbean law enforcement with the skills, intelligence and services they need to tackle organized crime in their region. It ensures an all-inclusive approach by addressing regional crime through a global lens across a broad spectrum of crime areas.
In this respect, ensuring real-time data is in the hands of frontline officers and increased cooperation across various national, regional and global agencies against terrorism, organized crime and cybercrime will be key topics during the 86th INTERPOL General Assembly later this month (26 – 29 September) in Beijing, China.
INTERPOL’s global policing capabilities include its I-24/7 secure police communications network, and a range of global databases including for stolen and lost travel documents, fingerprints, DNA, and facial recognition, for sharing information globally to better combat transnational organized crime and terrorism.
On the sidelines of the Managua meeting, Secretary General Stock said INTERPOL’s global policing community stood in solidarity with countries in the Caribbean and beyond following the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Irma, and with Mexico in the wake of the strongest earthquake to hit the country in a century.
Parliament recently passed a new law on the registration of beneficial owners of Austrian legal entities. After obtaining the necessary approval of the Austrian federal states, the law is expected to be published in the Federal Law Gazette in September 2017 and will enter into force on January 15 2018. As part of tranposing the Fourth Anti-money Laundering Directive into national law, the law contains:
-the definition of a 'beneficial owner' for the entire Austrian anti-money laundering regime; and
-provisions on the establishment and operation of the Beneficial Ownership Register.
In disclosing the relevant information on beneficial owners, the register aims to detect and prevent money laundering, especially with regard to complex corporate structures, holding companies or private foundations and trusts.
Legal entities subject to the law are partnerships (general and limited partnerships), corporations (limited liability companies, stock companies) and other legal entities (associations, private foundations, cooperative societies) with their corporate seat in Austria, as well as trusts and trust-like agreements if they are managed in Austria. The Beneficial Ownership Register will contain approximately 350,000 legal entities.
In order to be registered, the respective legal entity must identify its beneficial owners and take reasonable actions to verify their identity. As a rule, all natural persons who own or control a legal entity are considered its beneficial owners and must be registered in the Beneficial Ownership Register. With regard to companies, the law provides for three different approaches:
-a natural person directly holds more than 25% of the shares in an Austrian company;
-more than 25% of the shares in an Austrian company are held by another legal entity, which is directly or indirectly controlled by a natural person; control in this respect is indicated by directly or indirectly holding more than 50% of shares; or
-a natural person directly or indirectly holds more than 25% of the voting rights of the Austrian company.
As these three approaches coexist, the identification of a single beneficial owner according to one of them might not be sufficient. All beneficial owners must be identified, verified and registered in the Beneficial Ownership Register. If a beneficial owner cannot be determined in this way, the natural persons at the top management level are considered as beneficial owners in a subsidiary way.
The law contains clear determinations with respect to private foundations and trusts – as the three approaches are hardly applicable to such entities. For private foundations, these are the beneficiaries, founder, foundation council and other persons controlling the private foundation. For trusts, these are the trustee, settler/trustor, protector, beneficiaries and other persons controlling the trust's assets.
From January 15 2018 legal entities subject to the law must submit a notification on their beneficial owner(s) to the Beneficial Ownership Register by June 1 2018 at the latest. The notification must contain the:
-date and place of birth;
-nature and extent of the beneficial ownership (eg, beneficial owner as a direct shareholder or beneficial owner as a managing director).
If an identified beneficial owner does not reside in Austria, the notification must also include the beneficial owner's identification number and the type of identification. In addition, a copy of the identification must be submitted electronically.
If the relevant information can be clearly derived from an existing register (eg. the Companies Register, the Register of Associations), this data is adopted and the obligation to submit a notification can be omitted. For example, this is the case when all partners of a partnership or all shareholders of a limited liability company are natural persons.
The information on the beneficial owners is submitted to the Beneficial Ownership Register electronically via the Unternehmensserviceportal. Legal professionals are allowed to submit notifications on behalf of their clients. Any changes to the information already submitted have to be disclosed within four weeks of learning of them at the latest.
The information in the register is not publicly available and access is clearly limited. Generally, all legal entities have access only to their own data in the register. Persons obliged to comply with the requirements under the Fourth Anti-money Laundering Directive (eg, credit institutions, real estate and insurance agents) have access to the extent necessary to perform their due diligence obligations. To allow proper consultation of their clients, attorneys, notaries, auditors, tax consultants and accountants may also be granted access to the register. Other persons may be granted access only if a legitimate interest is credibly shown. In addition to these private persons, the register is fully available to tax authorities, financial crime authorities, criminal prosecution authorities and the Federal Financial Court.
Access to the Beneficial Ownership Register will be available as of May 1 2018 via the Unternehmensserviceportal.
If no adoption from other registers is possible, the legal entity must submit a notification on its beneficial owners by June 1 2018 at the latest. If no information is submitted, the legal entity is automatically put on a dunning list and may be repeatedly fined up to €5,000. If the notification obligation is breached with intent, a fine of up to €200,000 may be imposed. If it is breached with gross negligence, a fine of up to €100,000 may be imposed.
Turks and Caicos Islands - The Government has approved funds to train frontline enforcement personnel in an effort to fortify the Turks and Caicos Islands against money laundering risks and combat terrorist financing.
According to a post Cabinet statement issued on Wednesday, August 3, Cabinet approved recommendations of the TCI Anti-Money Laundering Committee for the expenditure of $24,910.
The money will be spent on Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Standards Training and Pre-Assessment Training.
These training sessions will target members of the Financial Services Commission (FSC) the police, customs, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and those who are on the ground dealing with these issues.
These cash will be drawn from the National Forfeiture Fund.
Cabinet also received update from the Attorney General on the completion of the anti-money laundering and prevention of terrorism financing National Risk Assessment which will be presented for final approval at its next meeting.
An expanded summary of the TCI’s Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Risk Assessment (National Risk Assessment) Report is expected to be published soon.
The country’s first National Risk Assessment was held on June 26, where members of the public and private sector met to comb through the TCI’s challenges with anti-money laundering and terrorist financing.
This meeting saw about 50 stakeholders and representatives from both the public and private sector convening for the two-day workshop.
According to FATF, corruption, money laundering and its associated economic and financial crimes tend to impact and undermine good governance and rule of law, which are core values of regional constitutions.
A risk assessment allows countries to identify, assess and understand its money laundering and terrorist financing risks, the force said.
Once these risks are properly understood, countries can apply measures that correspond to the level of risk.
The workshop was aimed at putting together comprehensive action plans to decrease the levels of risks, and strengthen controls and supervisory oversight in each sector while submitting ideas to impact legislative changes in this regard.
Speaking at the opening of the workshop, managing director of the Financial Services Commission (FSC), Nigel Streete, underscored the importance of implementing money-laundering legislation in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
He said: "It’s especially important for a small jurisdiction like ours where you have limited resources.
"What it allows you to do is an internal assessment and that assessment allows you to further identify and deploy resources.”
Attorney General Rhondalee Braithwaite Knowles OBE, chair of the national Anti-Money Laundering Committee, said that the workshop was designed to ensure a buy-in of senior officials from both sectors.
She explained: "This is a major initiative here in the Turks and Caicos Islands which will enable us to develop an effective framework to prevent money laundering and combat terrorist financing.”
KARACHI: The BRICS countries, following the summit in Xiamen, have committed to intensifying their cooperation against terror financing and money laundering, within the framework established by the United Nations, specifically the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
“We call for swift and effective implementation of relevant UNSC Resolutions and the FATF International Standards worldwide. We seek to intensify our cooperation in FATF and FATF-style regional bodies (FSRBs). We recall the responsibility of all states to prevent financing of terrorist networks and terrorist actions from their territories.”
The “relevant UNSC resolutions” referred to in the statement includes UNSC 1267, which lists all those groups, entities and individuals that have been designated as terrorists by the United Nations Security Council. A large number of groups and individuals based in Pakistan, as well as the aliases used by them, are listed in that resolution.
The statement makes repeated mention of terror financing as an area of concern where the signatory countries will cooperate in the future. It calls for “blocking sources of financing terrorism” as well as to “tackle all sources, techniques and channels of terrorist financing.”