Premier urges continued public-private action to curb money laundering

  • Date: 2018-11-05
  • Source: Department of Information Services, Executive Yuan

Premier Lai Ching-te on Monday attended the opening of the third-round mutual evaluation by the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), where on behalf of the government he thanked David Shannon, head of the evaluation team, for his affirmation of Taiwan.

Characterizing the two-week evaluation as only a beginning, the premier said that Taiwan will continue to abide by relevant standards promoted by the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) and the APG. By fulfilling fully its responsibilities and maintaining focus on refining all aspects of its anti-money laundering efforts, Taiwan can play a key role in thwarting such wrongdoing internationally.

Taiwan joined the APG as a founding member in 1997. It was also the first nation in Asia to pass legislation to prevent money laundering. Following a mutual evaluation in 2007, Taiwan was placed on the “regular follow-up” list. However, upon the completion of its second-round mutual evaluation in 2014, Taiwan was placed on the APG’s “transitional follow-up” list as a result of compliance issues at the overseas units of certain financial institutions.

The government has undertaken a number of actions to bolster anti-money laundering provisions in recent years, said Premier Lai. Foremost among these have been the strengthening of rules and regulations governing the operations of financial units, as well as requiring financial organizations to report incidents, enhance supervision of overseas branches, and improve internal controls. Additionally, the government established the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO) under the Executive Yuan in March of 2017 to link responsible ministries and agencies and private-sector resources to work in concert to combat money laundering.

The Executive Yuan has also worked with the Legislature to pass several important pieces of legislation, the premier said. The Money Laundering Control Act, for instance, was amended to expand the scope of confiscation, while placing anti-money laundering responsibilities and obligations on designated nonfinancial businesses, including jewelry retailers, attorneys, accountants and land administration agents. More than 140 articles in the Company Act were rewritten to comply with APG guidelines and the FATF’s set of 40 recommendations, such as prohibiting the issuance of bearer shares to improve the transparency of corporate operations overall.

In addition, the government amended the Counter-Terrorism Financing Act to combat crimes by international terrorist organizations, and revised the Foundations Act to stipulate regulatory criteria over government- and public-endowed foundations. The Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act was also revised to strengthen the mutual assistance framework between Taiwan’s and Interpol’s judicial systems.

According to the Executive Yuan’s AMLO, the APG evaluation team consists of representatives from the APG Secretariat, the U.S., South Korea, Indonesia, Pakistan, Thailand and Egypt. The nine-member team will be evaluating 37 government agencies including the Judicial Yuan, the Ministry of Justice, the Financial Supervisory Commission, the central bank, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior, as well as over 56 private-sector entities including financial institutions, accounting firms, law firms, real estate agencies and nonprofit organizations.