PALAU TIGHTENS MONEY LAUNDERING LAW

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By Bernadette H. Carreon

KOROR (Palau Horizon, Dec. 27) — President Tommy Remengesau on Wednesday signed the measure that amend sthe Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act 2001.

He said the new law updates and modernizes Palau’s anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing legal framework and complements the Cash Courier Disclosure Act enacted earlier this year.

"The anti-money laundering amendments bring Palau a giant step forward by giving our law enforcement and banking authorities the tools they need to curtail serious criminal activity," Remengesau said. "When criminals are not able to use the proceeds of crime, the incentive to carry out the original criminal activity is largely removed."

The economy of Palau has to grow, he added, but the country should not be a haven for illegal activities.

"Palau should retain its rightful place as a safe, democratic, responsible and lucrative place for legitimate investors to embark on business venture suitable to our landscape and our culture, in furtherance of our goal of sustainable growth," Remengesau said.

Early next year, Palau’s compliance with international anti-money laundering standards will be evaluated by the International Monetary Fund and the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering.

The new law requires an alternative remittance system to get a license from the Financial Institutional Commission, maintain detailed records of cash transactions over $1,000 and report suspicious cash transactions to the Financial Intelligence Unit and the commission.

Failure to submit reports will be penalized.

The Financial Institutional Commission and the Financial Intelligence Unit enforce Palau’s anti-money laundering law.

"Funding these units will be money well-spent, by preventing or inhibiting the influx of international crime, which clearly would be harmful to our people in the long run," Remengesau said.

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