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Bank Negara's revised anti-money laundering guidelines to take effect tomorrow

KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 31): Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has issued its revised policy document on anti-money laundering/counter financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) and targeted financial sanctions (TFS), which will take effect tomorrow (Jan 1, 2020).

The guidelines are for designated non-financial businesses and professions (DNFBPs) and non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs) such as licensed casinos carrying on gaming business, moneylenders and pawnbrokers.

According to the announcement on BNM’s website, this policy document sets out obligations of reporting institutions with respect to the requirements imposed under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLA), implementation of a comprehensive risk-based approach in managing money laundering and terrorism financing risks, and requirements on targeted financial sanctions.

This policy document is, however, not intended to be applicable to lawyers, accountants and company secretaries who are ‘internal’ professionals that are employees of other types of businesses, nor to professionals working for government agencies, BNM said.

Notably, the policy document supersedes the (AML/CFT)–DNFBPs and other non-financial sectors (Sector 5) issued on Nov 1, 2013, the central bank said.

In the document, BNM said some enhancements to the existing AML/CFT reporting obligations were proposed to ensure areas of higher risk are subject to enhanced controls, in view of money laundering and terrorism financing being financial crimes with far-reaching and deleterious socio-economic effects, while criminal networks, money launderers and terrorist financiers are highly adaptive and quick to exploit any weak links within an increasingly borderless world, to obscure detection of such illicit funds.

However, the revisions will also accord some policy accommodation to low risk areas to ensure the integrity of the financial system is preserved, just as development objectives are facilitated, BNM said.

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