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Anti-money laundering

The latest AML news for gambling businesses 

9 October 2017

Reminder to remote and non-remote casino operators

Following the Commission’s consultation on its revised AML guidance incorporating provisions in the new Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (the Regulations), we are reminding remote and non-remote casino operators of the requirement to:

  • appoint an individual who is a member of the board of the directors (or if there is no board, of its equivalent management body) or of its senior management, as the officer responsible for the operator’s compliance with the Regulations
  • appoint an individual responsible for the nominated officer role and responsibilities within the operator’s firm.

Operators must, within 14 days of the appointment, inform the Commission of the identity of the individuals appointed to the above positions, and any subsequent appointments to those positions.
 
Please see paragraphs 4.14 – 4.20 and 5.1 -5.18 of the Commission’s guidance for further information. 
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5 October 2017

Revised anti-money laundering advice for operators (excluding casino operators)

We have revised and published our new anti-money laundering advice for operators (excluding casino operators).

The purpose of the fourth edition of Duties and responsibilities under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002: Advice to operators (excluding casino operators) is primarily to incorporate new advice in relation to changes to POCA as a result of the Criminal Finances Act 2017.

We have also updated our Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 quick guide for small businesses. ____________________________________________________

5 October 2017

Updated edition of our approach to AML supervision

We have revised and updated our Approach to AML supervision information note.

This update is required in order to reflect the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 and the revision of our AML guidance for casinos (see below).

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27 September 2017

Revised AML guidance for casinos

Following a consultation, we have revised and published our new anti-money laundering guidance for non-remote and remote casinos.

The Guidance comes into effect immediately.

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4 September 2017

Updated guidance on financial sanctions enforcement

HM Treasury today launches its annual Frozen Assets Review on GOV.UK. As in previous years, all individuals, organisations and businesses holding frozen assets will have until Friday 13 October 2017 to report them to the Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI).

Reporting to Treasury ensures it has as comprehensive a return as possible of all frozen assets, something that helps it ensure that financial sanctions remain an effective foreign policy and national security tool.

For an example of what the annual review involves, please see the 2016 exercise.

We would also like to remind operators that since 8 August 2017 they now have an obligation to report sanctions-related information to OFSI and that not doing so is a criminal offence, which may result in a criminal prosecution or a monetary penalty.

More information on reporting obligations can be found in Chapter 5 of OFSI’s guide to financial sanctions

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9 August 2017

Updated guidance on financial sanctions enforcement

The Government now has extended powers to act against those who don’t report information that could undermine UK financial sanctions.

All businesses, organisations and individuals have an obligation under financial sanctions regulations to report information which facilitates compliance. However, enforcement action could only be taken against firms or people in the regulated financial services sector who failed to report. 

The extended powers, set out in new regulations, broaden enforcement to the following business areas from 8 August 2017:

  • auditors
  • casinos
  • dealers in precious metals or stones
  • estate agents
  • external accountants
  • independent legal professionals
  • tax advisors
  • trust or company service providers.

Prompt reporting of information is essential for financial sanctions to be an effective foreign policy and national security tool. For instance, it helps OFSI to detect breaches and identify those who evade sanctions by using different aliases.

The new regulations extend existing powers without creating new ones or changing the purpose of the law. The only change is that from 8 August these groups may commit a criminal offence if they do not report the information they should already be reporting to OFSI.

OFSI has updated the Guide to Financial Sanctions to help individuals and businesses understand what they should report and when. All impacted businesses are encouraged to review their responsibilities as non-compliance could lead to a monetary penalty or criminal prosecution.

As well as new information on reporting obligations, the updated guide clarifies OFSI’s existing positions on organisations owned or controlled by those subject to sanctions, as well as the process for obtaining a licence.

OFSI will continue to work with industry bodies to develop its guidance so that it is responsive to what businesses, and the public and charitable sectors, need. 

OFSI’s Guide to Financial Sanctions is published on GOV.UK

To stay up-to-date on financial sanctions, subscribe to OFSI’s e-alert.

Alternatively, you can contact OFSI directly:

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31 July 2017

Consultation on updates to anti-money laundering guidance for casinos

Gambling businesses are being invited to feedback on proposed changes to our guidance (The Prevention of Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism – guidance for remote and non-remote casinos) via consultation.

This follows HM Government’s publication of The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 which came into effect on 26 June 2017.

All casino operators both non-remote and remote must comply with the new regulations and will need to ensure they have effective measures in place.

As the regulations are already in force, we expect casino operators to familiarise themselves with the new regulations as soon as possible, and take action to comply.

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26 June 2017

New Money Laundering Regulations now in effect

HM Government has published The Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 which come into effect today. 

This comes following a period of transposition of the EU 4th Money Laundering Directive and replaces the previous Money Laundering Regulations 2007.

Read more...

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21 June 2017 

Commission urges operators to review when customer identity checks are made 

Gambling operators are being reminded that if they only request identity documents when the customer withdraws their funds, they could be putting their business at risk of failing to meet their anti-money laundering (AML) and social responsibility requirements – and in turn breaching the conditions of their licence.

Read more...

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27 April 2017

Update on the 4th EU ML Directive from Treasury

The UK remains committed to transposing the European Union’s 4th Money Laundering Directive. This will continue to be a priority for HM Treasury and they will seek to publish final regulations as soon as possible after a new government is formed.

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26 April 2017

Updated edition of our approach to AML supervision

We have revised and updated our approach to AML supervision.

This edition is a relatively minor update in advance of a more significant update which will follow once the new Money Laundering Regulations come into effect in June 2017.

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21 April 2017

Future legal framework for imposing and implementing sanctions

HM Government has published a consultation on its proposals for domestic sanctions legislation following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

The consultation invites views on the legal powers the UK will need to meet its UN obligation to implement UN sanctions and impose its own domestic sanctions.

Closing date for responses is 23 June 2017. These should be sent via email to: sanctions.consultation@fco.gov.uk  or in writing to: Sanctions Consultation, IOD Sanctions Team, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, King Charles Street, London, SW1A 2AH.

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6 April 2017

Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation Guidance

The Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) has published guidance to support the introduction of monetary penalties for financial sanctions breaches (effective from 1 April 2017). This includes a form to report suspected breaches.

OFSI will use powers to impose penalties (up to £1 million or 50% of the breach, whichever is higher) for serious financial sanctions breaches. With the introduction of monetary penalties, it is strongly in your interest to report suspected breaches of financial sanctions to OFSI.

In addition, from 1 April 2017 all new UN financial sanctions listings made by UN sanctions committees have direct effect in the UK as soon as they are made. To support this change, OFSI will add these listings to the consolidated list.

OFSI offers a free alerts service notifying subscribers to changes to sanctions listings to help with compliance. __________________________________________

15 March 2017

Transposition of the EU 4th Money Laundering Directive

The Government has published its response to the consultation on the EU 4th Money Laundering Directive (4MLD).

Having considered responses to the consultation and taken into account the UK’s National Risk Assessment (NRA), which deems gambling to be low risk relative to other regulated sectors, the Government has decided to utilise the powers provided within the directive to exempt gambling sectors which are lower risk, apart from non-remote and remote casinos, which cannot be exempted.

Therefore, the current position will be maintained where only holders of casino operating licences will be subject to the requirements under the new Money Laundering Regulations.

However, government recognise that risk remains in the gambling industry and improvements need to be made through continual efforts. The government has made clear that it will regularly review its position in relation to the money laundering and terrorist financing risk that gambling providers present.

Moreover it has asked the Gambling Commission to continue to evaluate this risk across all gambling sectors - taking into consideration the effective implementation and effect of the Gambling Commission’s licensing conditions - and this information will contribute to and influence future NRAs.

Importantly, the Government recognises that the risk levels attributed to a particular gambling sector are not static and will vary over time. As a result, where a gambling sector can no longer be deemed low risk (including where the sector fails to effectively manage the money laundering and terrorist financing risks) then it will likely lead to their inclusion within the provisions of the new Regulations, subjecting that sector to its requirements.

It is therefore imperative that gambling providers comply with the requirements of the Gambling Act and the strengthened Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) to ensure that they have effective policies, procedures and controls in place, and continue to raise standards.

Those operators who will not become subject to the new Regulations are reminded that:

  • they still have other duties to prevent money laundering under the Gambling Act, Proceeds of Crime Act, and the LCCP
  • there is a clear need to further raise standards across the industry
  • government has warned it has the power to include sectors within the new Money Laundering Regulations at a later date if those sectors are assessed as being higher risk.

We will continue to work with the industry to raise standards and assess the effectiveness of operator policies, procedures and controls for anti-money laundering. Where operators fail to meet their obligations, we will not hesitate to take appropriate action. We will also work with LEAs and HMG to improve the effectiveness of AML arrangements.

We have published our risk assessment of the gambling industry which informed the Government’s response to the consultation. This assessment will be reviewed on an annual basis and will contribute to determining the Commission’s focus and to influence future NRAs and in particular whether providers of gambling services other than casinos should continue to be exempt from the requirements of the Money Laundering Regulations.

The new Money Laundering Regulations will be introduced in June 2017.

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10 March 2017

A reminder for gambling businesses about accepting third party payments

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8 November 2016

Revised anti-money laundering advice for operators (excluding casino operators)

We have revised and published our new anti-money laundering advice for operators (excluding casino operators).

The purpose of the third edition of Duties and responsibilities under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 Advice to operators (excluding casino operators) is primarily to incorporate new advice in relation to risk assessments in support of the new anti-money laundering licence condition.

Operators should use the updated advice in conjunction with the AML licence condition contained within the LCCP which came into effect on 31 October 2016.

We have also updated our Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 quick guide for small businesses to reflect the new licence condition.


4 October 2016

Progress update - Changes to the glossary codes for suspicious activity reports (SARs)

There have been some changes to SARs glossary codes. The UK Financial Intelligence Unit (UKFIU) has revised the glossary codes in order to:

  • assist in quickly identifying SARs which require fast-tracking and priority attention by end users
  • enable more effective strategic analysis and trend reporting
  • enable more efficient analysis in order to feedback patterns and trends to the reporting sectors.

On the 1 October 2016 the new glossary codes were fully implemented making them the only valid glossary codes moving forward until the next code review is conducted. All previous old codes will cease to be recognised and should no longer be used by reporters.

The communication note published by the NCA provides a brief progress update by the NCA. 

The UKFIU has revised its published guidance for the introduction of the revised glossary codes and the reporting routes.


16 September 2016

Transposition of the EU 4th Money Laundering Directive

HM Treasury has published it’s consultation on the transposition of the EU 4th Money Laundering Directive.

This consultation invites views and evidence on the steps that the government proposes to take, or should take, to meet its obligation to transpose the directive into national law. It also seeks views and evidence on the potential costs and benefits of the changes considered.

The consultation includes a number of proposals in relation to gambling services, we therefore encourage operators to respond.

Closing date for responses is 10 November 2016. These should be sent via email to: aml@hmtreasury.gsi.gov.uk or in writing to: Sanctions and Illicit Finance Team, 1 Blue, HM Treasury, 1 Horse Guards Road, London, SW1A 2HQ


14 September 2016

Frozen asset reporting 2016

HM Treasury’s annual Frozen Assets Reporting exercise launched on 13 September 2016 on GOV.UK.

If you hold any assets (eg money held in a customer account) belonging to a person who is subject to financial sanctions you must freeze those assets and report on them. 

Every year the Treasury carries out a review to update their records to reflect any changes to the assets during the reporting period. Treasury requires everyone that holds or controls funds or economic resources belonging to, owned, held, or controlled by a person who is subject to financial sanctions (a designated person), to provide a report to the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) with the details of these assets. 

Deadline for submission of your report to OFSI is Friday 14 October 2016.

More information and the reporting template can be found on the GOV.UK website

If you have a question or to submit your report email OFSI at ofsi@hmtreasury.gsi.gov.uk.


1 September 2016

Changes to the glossary codes for suspicious activity reports (SARs)

There have been some changes to SARs glossary codes. The UK Financial Intelligence Unit (UKFIU) has revised the glossary codes in order to:

  • assist in quickly identifying SARs which require fast-tracking and priority attention by end users
  • enable more effective strategic analysis and trend reporting
  • enable more efficient analysis in order to feedback patterns and trends to the reporting sectors.

Transition to the new glossary codes will commence on 1 September 2016. The codes will be fully implemented on 1 October 2016 and the old glossary codes will no longer be valid after that.

The UKFIU has published guidance for the introduction of the revised glossary codes and the reporting routes.

A Glossary Code UKFIU Help Desk will also be available during September 2016 (but only for that month) from Monday to Friday 10am - 4pm on 0121 345 5464 or email sarsdataexploitationteam@nca.x.gsi.gov.uk.



28 July 2016

Revised anti-money laundering (AML) guidance for casinos

We have revised and published our new anti-money laundering guidance for non-remote and remote casinos.

The purpose of the third edition of The Prevention of Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism – guidance for remote and non-remote is to:

  • incorporate learning from our anti-money laundering case work
  • provide new guidance and update existing guidance in critical areas identified in our compliance and investigation activity
  • update references to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) to the National Crime Agency (the NCA), its successor
  • meet the requirements of HM Treasury to review regularly any guidance issued.

We also reviewed the guidance in support of the proposals contained in the anti-money laundering chapter of the consultation on proposed amendments to the Licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP).

Casino operators should use the updated guidance in conjunction with the AML licence conditions contained within the LCCP which will come into effect in October 2016. The AML guidance will come into force immediately.

We intend that licensees will use the parts of the updated guidance which relate to the amended anti-money laundering licence conditions, in preparation for those conditions coming into effect in October 2016. We intend that this edition of the guidance is the last edition before the EU 4th Money Laundering Directive is transposed into UK legislation.

An updated version of Duties and responsibilities under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 – Advice to operators (excluding casino operators) will be published later in the year.



22 July 2016

Update on the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive

On the 5 June 2015, the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive was formally adopted. The 4th Directive allows Member States to exempt gambling sectors on the basis of proven low risk posed by the nature and scale of their services, following an appropriate risk assessment. HM Treasury are responsible for making any determination of low risk and exemptions.

The Treasury intends to consult on proposals in this area as part of the wider work to transpose the Directive, and all stakeholders will have the opportunity to contribute to the consultation process.

The latest information provided by Treasury is that consultation on transposition of the Directive will be published before the end of the year.

In addition to any consideration concerning proven low risk, the transposition period provides opportunity for the industry to anticipate the requirements of new money laundering regulations.

Operators will need to consider the provisions within their strategic and operational planning, as they develop appropriate capability, policy and procedures.

On 23 June, the EU referendum took place and UK voted to leave the European Union. Until exit negotiations are concluded, the UK remains a full member of the European Union and all the rights and obligations of EU membership remain in force. During this period the Government will continue to negotiate, implement and apply EU legislation.

We will provide updates on implementation as we receive them.

Additionally, operators should also be aware that on 5 July 2016 the European Commission adopted proposals to make amendments to the 4th Directive. These proposals are still to be negotiated by member states and have not yet been incorporated into the 4th Directive. 


19 July 2016

Clarification of the approach to consent requests

The UK Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) have undertaken a review of the policy and operating procedures relating to requests for ‘consent’ under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) and the Terrorism Act 2000 (TACT).

Read their note Changes to the ‘consent’ approach: Requesting a defence under POCA & TACT.

Changes that have been made are pending any that may be made in light of HM Government’s Action Plan for anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist finance (published on 21 April 2016) and the planned Criminal Finances Bill.

The new approach seeks to address a number of issues, for example:

  • frequent misinterpretation of the effect of ‘consent’
  • continued receipt of poor quality SARs, missing significant information
  • confusion arising where reporters receive no reply from the NCA.

We've been asked to make operators aware of future changes to the glossary codes used by reporters when submitting suspicious activity reports. The NCA will publish guidance alongside the new codes to assist reporters in using them.

Please ensure your registered email address with SAR Online is up-to-date or register if you have not yet done so. 


9 June 2016

New quick guide on the prevention of money laundering

A new quick guide for local licensing officers and the police to raise the awareness and understanding of money laundering and gambling.

Money laundering - Information for licensing officers and local police 


3 May 2016 

Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation

Earlier this year HM Treasury established the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI).

OFSI will support the UK’s foreign policy and national security goals and help maintain the integrity of and confidence in the UK financial services sector. It will build on the work carried out by the Treasury Financial Sanctions team. OFSI’s principal aims are to:

  • Increase awareness of compliance with financial sanctions
  • Ensure that sanction breaches are rapidly detected and effectively addressed
  • Provide a professional service to the public and industry on financial sanctions issues.

In particular, OFSI offers a free alerts service notifying subscribers to changes to sanctions listings to help with compliance.

OFSI has replaced the Asset Freezing Unit, so for assistance and guidance on financial sanctions you need to contact:

Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation
HM Treasury
1 Horse Guards Road
London SW1A 2HQ
ofsi@hmtreasury.gsi.gov.uk
020 7270 5454 


3 May 2016

Action plan for anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist finance

The Home Office and HM Treasury have published their Action Plan for anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist finance. This action plan sets out the steps to strengthen the UK's response to money laundering and terrorist financing, and to protect the safety of its citizens and the overall integrity of the financial system in the UK.

The Action Plan has three principle priorities for the UK, these are:

  • To have a more robust law enforcement response to the threats we face. 
  • To reform the supervisory regime and ensure that those few companies who facilitate or enable money laundering are brought to task.
  • To increase the international reach to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing threats by working with international groups to take action overseas.

The Action Plan will deliver the Government’s strategic aim to make the UK a more hostile place for money laundering and terrorist financing. Delivery will focus on four areas of priority:

  1. A stronger partnership with the private sector
  2. Enhancing the law enforcement response 
  3. Improving the effectiveness of the supervisory regime
  4. Increasing our international reach.

The Action Plan includes a consultation on legislative proposals and a call for information on the AML supervisory regime.

If you would like to provide comments to the Home Office and HM Treasury the deadline for responses is 2 June 2016.