On March 21 2016, the Macau Special Administrative Region
(Macau SAR) Legislative Assembly unanimously approved the first
reading of a Bill that proposes the establishment of a
counter-terrorist asset freezing regime, as part of the fight
against terrorism and the widespread use of weapons of mass
The Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering and Offshore
Group of Banking Supervisors Mutual Evaluation Report on Macau
observed that the Macau SAR was only partially compliant with
the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
In particular, Macau does not have freezing and unfreezing
measures and procedures to fully implement United Nations
Security Council (UNSC) resolutions regarding the prevention
and suppression of terrorism and terrorist financing.
To be fully compliant with the FATF recommendations and to
remedy some of the shortcomings of Macau's legislation, the
draft Bill proposes the establishment of a legal regime for the
execution of decisions to freeze assets contained in the UNSC
Sanctions Resolutions applicable to Macau as a result of a
decision of the People's Republic of China.
Pursuant to this Bill, Macau's Chief Executive is empowered
to execute UNSC decisions to freeze assets. The Chief Executive
can also designate persons or entities found committing
financial terrorist acts and freeze their assets. In fact,
whenever the Chief Executive has reasonable grounds to believe
that any person or entity has committed, tried to commit and/or
participated in any terrorist act (as defined under Law 3/2006
on the Prevention and Repression of Terrorism) it may freeze
This applies to:
- any person or entity found in Macau;
- all residents of Macau, wherever they
might be found;
- all assets found in Macau
belonging to any person or entity subject to a freeze
- any assets transaction or operation made,
by any means, directly or indirectly, totally or partially,
in or through Macau.
All designation acts (including either acts from the
international competent bodies or directly from the Chief
Executive) subjecting a given person or entity to a freezing
decision are published in the Macau Official Bulletin.
Following publication of the designation act, freezing of
all property, and all assets under their direct or indirect
control, as well as those resulting from or generated by the
above, will be immediately carried out against the designated
person or entity. Although this is the general regime
applicable to all freezing measures, the possibility of
extending the scope of the measures is also envisaged. This may
happen in cases where the UNSC resolutions so require. In such
situations, the freezing measures may be extended to any
non-designated person or entity by virtue of any specific
relation to the designated person or entity.
Finally, as an addition to the asset freezing measures, and
to complement their efficacy, the prohibition on, directly or
indirectly, making available or providing assets to any
designated person or entity is also foreseen.
The new regulation is expected to be effective as of the
second half of 2016.
João Nuno Riquito and Carlos Eduardo