Lorena Rodríguez, CPAML, Manager, Panama Compliance Services Inc.
In April 2015, Law 23 was approved by which measures are established to prevent money laundering, terrorist financing and the financing for the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and other provisions in the Republic of Panama.
Law 23 of 2015 is the regulatory framework for the supervising institutions and the obligated subjects to introduce:
- Measures to identify, assess and understand the risks and consequences of money laundering, terrorist financing and the financing for the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
- Proper mitigating controls to protect the integrity of the financial system and other economic sectors of the country.
- The measures to facilitate international cooperation.
Which sectors does Panama Compliance can assist?
- Non-financial sector: Colon Free Zone companies, duty free zones, companies within the Panama-Pacifico Agency, real estate developers, real estate agents, construction companies, new and used car sales agencies, among others.
- Professional activities subject to supervision: lawyers, public notaries and accountants.
The main obligations under Law 23 of 2015, that must be observed by financial obligated entities, non-financial obligated entities and activities carried out by professionals, subject to supervision are:
- To appoint a person to act as link between the Financial Analysis Unit and the relevant entity of supervision for the application of measures for the prevention of money laundering, terrorist financing and the financing for the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
- To design policies and procedures to reasonably know the client, identify the ultimate beneficial owner, and understand the business nature of and transactions by the client.
- To design and establish controls for application of risk-focused prevention measures.
- To establish policies to know your employees.
- To design training programs for employees to keep them updated on the different types, cases and regulations on money laundering, terrorist financing and financing for the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
- To file reports on cash transactions and suspicious operations with the Financial Analysis Unit within the periods established by regulations.
- To proceed with preventive freeze of assets upon receipt of the lists issued by the United Nations Security Council.
- To safeguard and update the client's due diligence information.
The different entities of supervision have issued guidelines and regulations for the correct and effective application of legal norms, as well as the mechanisms for the prevention and control of the risks of money laundering, terrorist financing and financing for the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction for each sector.
Failure to comply with said measures may cause penalties of up to US$1,000,000.00.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.