Fri, Sep 14, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Cabinet approves tougher finance control measures

Staff writer, with CNA

The Cabinet yesterday approved draft amendments to the Money Laundering Control Act (洗錢防制法) and the Counter-Terrorism Financing Act (資恐防制法), which aim to tighten supervision of financial and other institutions.

The proposed changes to the Money Laundering Control Act would introduce new fines for financial institutions and designated non-financial businesses or professions that contravene regulations.

It would stipulate that such institutions, businesses and professions must implement internal controls and audits to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing.

The proposed amendments would require institutions to prepare regular risk assessment reports on money laundering and terrorist financing.

Failure to implement the policies and establish the stipulated procedures would result in a fine of NT$500,000 to NT$5 million (US$16,231 to US$162,311) for financial institutions.

For non-financial businesses or professions, the fine would be NT$50,000 to NT$500,000.

The bill defines designated non-financial businesses or professions as jewelry retail businesses, land administration agents, real-estate agencies, lawyers, notaries and accountants, and trust and company service providers.

The two bills were approved as the government preparers for a third round of evaluations within the framework of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering in November, Deputy Minister of Justice Tsai Pi-chung (蔡碧仲) said.

The Cabinet also passed a proposed amendment to ban imports of fish products from long-distance fishing fleets that are found to engage in destructive fishing practices, in an effort to have Taiwan removed from the EU’s “yellow card” watch list.

In October 2015, the EU placed the nation on its watch list for not cooperating sufficiently in combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Since then, EU officials have visited Taiwan every six months to asses whether the problems are being addressed.

During the Cabinet meeting, Premier William Lai (賴清德) said he hoped that the amendment would clear the legislative floor as soon as possible.

He said he had asked the Council of Agriculture (COA) to continue communicating with local industry groups to ensure that they are aware of Taiwan’s policies regarding unregulated fishing.

Lai also asked the COA to work with the Bureau of Foreign Trade and the Customs Administration to prevent such fish from entering the Taiwanese market.

According to the draft amendment to the Act for Distant Water Fisheries (遠洋漁業條例), those caught importing fish products from fleets found to engage in IUU fishing would be subject to a fine of NT$500,000 to NT$2.5 million, which could be increased to NT$750,000 to NT$3.75 million for breaking the law within a year of a previous infringement.

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