This content is from: Local Insights

Macau: AML framework developments

João Nuno RiquitoCarlos Eduardo Coelho

On November 10 2016, the Macau Special Administrative Region (Macau SAR) legislative assembly unanimously approved the first reading of a bill that proposed amendments to the law on the prevention of money laundering activities – law 2/2016 (AML law). More recently, on January 4 2017, the legislative assembly approved the first reading of a bill that proposed a border currency declaration system for anyone entering or leaving Macau SAR.

In order to be fully compliant with the Financial Action Task Force recommendations, to address some of the shortcomings of Macau's SAR legislation observed by the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering, and also to be consistent with other internal legislation, the draft bills foresee relevant amendments to expand the reach of the AML law.

In a nutshell, the main proposed amendments are:

  • widening the scope of identifiable predicate criminal offences with regards to money laundering – 'underlying crimes'– (which now further encompasses, among other crimes, crimes relating to copyright and intellectual property; corruption on foreign trade and in the private sector; and, electoral bribery);
  • a focus on the autonomy between the underlying crime and the money laundering crime;
  • a clear statement that conviction for the underlying crime is not a sine qua non condition for a money laundering conviction;
  • strengthening of customer due diligence measures, in particular by establishing more stringent duties of identification;
  • auction houses will also be subject to due diligence obligations;
  • widening of money laundering activity report obligations (knowledge of attempts to proceed with operations that indicate money laundering activities is also included).

It has been proposed that the currency declaration system will apply to anyone entering or leaving Macau SAR with cash or other negotiable monetary instruments, valued at MOP 120,000 ($15,000) or more, in their possession.

João Nuno Riquito and Carlos Eduardo Coelho

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