Sat, Nov 03, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Money laundering amendments pass before evaluation

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan bangs his gavel to mark the passage of draft amendments to the Counter-Terrorism Financing Act and the Money Laundering Control Act during a third reading at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Fang Bin-chao, Taipei Times

Ahead of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering’s (APG) visit to Taiwan for its third round of mutual evaluations, the Legislative Yuan yesterday passed amendments to the Money Laundering Control Act (洗錢防制法), which included an article stipulating a maximum fine of NT$10 million (US$325,330) for firms that do not have an internal auditing mechanism.

The group is to send a team of experts to Taiwan on Monday to appraise the nation’s efforts to counter money laundering. The evaluation is to end on Nov. 16.

Under the amendments, the definition of financial institutions is broadened to include entities that engage in virtual-currency trading.

Financial institutions and designated non-financial institutions should establish internal control, auditing and anti-money-laundering procedures. Those failing to do so and failing to make necessary improvements after a prescribed period would be fined between NT$500,000 and NT$10 million, with the personnel responsible fined between NT$50,000 and NT$1 million.

Personnel — the owner, directors, managers or employees — at financial institutions and designated non-financial institutions that handle trading of commodities exceeding a certain amount must declare the transaction to the Investigation Bureau. Institutions that contravene this rule face a fine of between NT$500,000 and NT$10 million, and personnel in charge of declarations would be fined between NT$50,000 and NT$1 million.

Lawmakers also passed an amendment to the Counter-Terrorism Financing Act (資恐防制法), which grants authorities the right of discretion in denying sanctioned parties a window to appeal.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chou Chun-mi (周春米), who cochairs the Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee, said the stipulation would prevent sanctioned parties from transferring their assets to avoid them being sequestered.

Chou said he hopes the amendments help the nation make its way back to the organization’s “regular follow-up” list, indicating the lowest risk of money laundering,

Taiwan was placed on the “regular follow-up” list in 2007 and was demoted to the “enhanced follow-up” list by the APG in 2011, before being placed on the “transitional follow-up list” in 2014.

It was removed from the transitional list on July 2 last year, pending the results of the next evaluation.

Additional reporting by CNA

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