The Week Of: December 30, 2019

This week’s news and stories of interest to the AML community. If you prefer a news roundup sent to you, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

UK Gambling Commission warns casino operators on anti-money laundering activity

Gaming operators will face harsh penalties if they fail to strengthen their anti-money laundering compliance programs, said the UK Gambling Commission.

The UKGC also said it will publish the fifth edition of its guidance for casino operators on January 10, nine days after the EU’s 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive takes effect. The guidance takes effect when it is published.

The guidance is said to include “new rules related to casino operators with a specific focus on minimal AML risks from the emergence of new products, business practices or technology.” Customer identity verification will be a priority.

Read more at lcb.org.

FinCEN to focus on foreign money laundering threats

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network is expected to ramp up its focus on foreign money laundering threats, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The agency may use its powers to prohibit foreign banks from opening correspondent accounts with U.S. institutions, request information from banks on customer transactions, and “require additional disclosures on transactions made in certain U.S. cities that FinCEN deems risky,” i.e. further enforcement of its geographic targeting orders that investigate high-end real estate deals.

FinCEN established the Global Investigations Division last year to oversee foreign and domestic investigations.

Malaysia’s central bank expands anti-money laundering laws

Enhanced anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regulations are in order for Malaysian financial institutions after Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), the country’s central bank, published an updated policy document requiring “all institutions under its regulatory framework to enhance their compliance monitoring across the board, including at branches.”

The new framework requires institutions to employ compliance officers to manage all aspects of suspicious transactions and customer due diligence. Compliance officers must also have sufficient authority to influence AML/CFT decisions.

BNM has also placed an emphasis on identifying politically exposed persons (PEPs) and their close associates, saying that reporting institutions “must take reasonable measures to determine the extent to which these individuals are directly engaged or involved in the activity of the PEP.”

Read more from the Malaysian Reserve.