The Treasury made a publication before Christmas about the changes made to the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 and the changes begin to be effective as from 10 January 2020.
The new changes will certainly expose many firms. The new changes premising on Scope of the MLRs now includes letting agents, art market participants, crypto-asset exchange providers and custodian wallet providers.
New restrictions are imposed on acquiring anonymous prepaid card transactions and there is a lowering of certain limits for e-money transactions. The new changes also empower the law enforcement agencies and gambling commission the power to obtain information about safe-deposit boxes and accounts held with banks, including building societies and credit unions. The other changes which are due to diligence requirements enforce firms to take appropriate measures when adopting new products, business practice or technology. The changes also make the parent firms to establish and maintain various policies and controls that will prevent money laundering and terrorist financing throughout their groups. Appropriate measures and safe record keeping that prove employees and agents trainings on prevention and detection of money laundering and terrorist financing in compliance with the Anti-Money Laundering Regulations. The new changes also made the obligation to understand ownership and control structure of a customer applicable whether the customer is a corporate body or other legal person or similar legal arrangement. The new changes allow firms to keep written records of all actions taken to identify a beneficial owner of a corporate body or the senior person responsible for managing the corporate body in case the ownership of such body is not established after exhausting all possible means of identifying such. Proof of registration is advised to be collected before any firm establishes a relationship with any customer and any discrepancy in documents coming from further engagements in the course of carrying out duties under the MLRs has to be reported to the relevant registrar. The new changes also introduce a significant reduction in thresholds for applying customer due diligence in the context of e-money. There are also new restrictions on acquiring anonymous prepaid card transactions.