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Macau: Dealing with money laundering

Pedro CortésMarta Mourão Teixeira
Legislation on anti-money laundering was passed in Macau in 2006, although there were some previous regulations already providing for it.

Law 2/2006 on the prevention and repression of money laundering crimes of April 3 2006, established measures aimed at preventing and suppressing the criminal offence of money laundering. It defined the gains of money laundering as any assets derived from the commission, through any form of participation, of a typified act, which would be punishable with a penalty of imprisonment of a maximum term of three years.

Under this Law, there are some entities that are bound to specific duties regarding operations that might indict the commission of the criminal offence of money laundering, or might involve substantial amounts, within the context of the respective activity, including the duties of: (i) identifying the parties to contracts, customers or patrons and the operations; (ii) refusing to perform such operations, when the necessary elements are not provided for the purpose of these identification duties; (iii) keeping records, for a reasonable period of time, regarding the compliance with these identification duties; (iv) notifying the operations, when they indict the commission of the criminal offence of money laundering; (v) collaborating with all the authorities with competence in the prevention and suppression of the criminal offence of money laundering.

The entities under the obligation to comply with the above duties are: (i) those subject to the supervision of the Monetary Authority of Macau, such as credit institutions, financial companies, offshore financial institutions, insurance companies, money changers and remittance companies; (ii) those who are subject to the supervision of the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, such as entities that operate games of chance, lotteries, mutual bets and promoters of games of chance in casinos; (iii) traders of goods of very high unit value, such as entities trading in pawned objects, precious metals, precious stones and luxury transport vehicles; (iv) those who exercise the intermediary activities of real estate or of buying real estate for re-selling; (v) lawyers, solicitors, notaries, registrars, auditors, accountants and tax advisers, when participating in or assisting certain operations in the exercise of their professional activities.

The Financial Intelligence Office, established for the purposes of collecting, analysing and disseminating information on suspicious money laundering and terrorist-financing transaction reports, annually publishes a report with statistical data and other information regarding anti-money laundering, aside from biannual newsletters on the gaming and financial sectors. These annual reports have disclosed an increasing trend for delivering suspicious transaction reports, which reflects an increase in the awareness of the reporting entities, and that the gaming and financial sectors are responsible for the vast majority of the reports.

Pedro Cortés and Marta Mourão Teixeira

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