Top money laundering stories you'll want to read this week

November 9, 2016

Ireland: One of Ireland’s largest retail banks has been fined €3.3 million for breaching anti-money-laundering and terrorist-financing regulations. Regulators at the Central Bank described the reason for the fine at Ulster Bank Ireland as “unacceptable weaknesses in key aspects of its anti-money-laundering framework, systems and controls over an extended period of time.”

Among the breaches, Ulster Bank Ireland failed to conduct money-laundering and terrorist-financing risk assessments for more than two years; formally review documents and information it held on pre-1995 customers to see if it was required to carry out customer due diligence; and complete customer due diligence for nearly 65,000 pre-1995 customers when providing new products.

Philippines: Philippines-licensed online gambling sites are set to lose some of the exemptions they currently have in place. Under new legislation, online gambling sites must report all suspicious and covered transactions to the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), regardless of the amount of the transaction.

The new legislation also grants the AMLC the power to conduct on-site inspections of gambling operators’ records and documents, including individual accounts deemed to be related to any unlawful activity.

Hong Kong: The Joint Financial Intelligence Unit (JFIU) has received 59,730 reports of suspicious financial activity in the first nine months of 2016. The spike in reports is attributed to recent enhancements to reporting and monitoring requirements by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority that require banks to take a more “risk-based approach”.

As a result of the change, HSBC Asia-Pacific has hired 7,000 compliance officers globally to handle the tighter vetting process, but convictions and asset seizures are down compared to previous years. JFIU has only seized HK$105 million worth of assets in the first nine months of this year, down from HK$341 million in 2015 and HK$418 million in 2014. Convictions for money laundering also fell from 145 in 2014 to 122 in 2015.

New Zealand: Despite revelations from the Panama Papers about tax evasion and money laundering in New Zealand, government plans to extend the AML regime to real estate agents, accountants and lawyers in regards to the requirements to confirm customer’s identities is not going to happen as quickly as promised.

According to government officials, the original timeframe was too difficult but promised that changes would be implemented by the middle of 2017. The Labour party is worried that the government is giving into special interests.

In the meanwhile, New Zealand dethrones Singapore as the easiest place to do business

Interested in staying up to date on these and other hot topics in the AML space? Visit our blog often or watch the full recording of our recent webinar, 'Sanctions Risk -- What's the Problem?'

 

About Anu Sood:

Anu Sood is the Director of Product and Corporate Marketing at CaseWare Analytics and is responsible for the company’s global marketing strategy. Prior to CaseWare Analytics, Anu worked in various roles in the high-tech industry and her accomplishments range from writing software for telephone switches to launching a new global satellite communication service. Anu has extensive experience in strategic marketing, corporate communications, demand generation, content marketing, product management, product marketing and technology development. 

Connect:   Anu Sood

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