On Feb 2020, the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) identified that Mauritius as a jurisdiction is having Anti money laundering strategic deficiencies and added the country on the list of Jurisdiction under Increased Monitoring. Also, as per the EU (European Union), Mauritius is having AML/ CFT regime strategic deficiencies, under the article nine of EU 4th Anti-Money laundering directive and have added Mauritius in the list of high-risk third countries.
In response, the parliament of Mauritius has passed the Anti-money laundering and combating of the financing of terrorism (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2020. The aim of the act is to bring new changes in the financial services sector in order to meet with the recommended international norms and the best practices of the FATF.
This act amends 19 enactments with a view to reinforce the existing legal provisions to further combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
As per the act a legal obligation can be taken if the applicants do not provide information related to incorporation or registration of companies, limited partnerships and foundations, beneficial owners to the respective registrars during incorporation or registration of such entities.
Now companies have to compulsorily provide the basic information and beneficial ownership information to the competent authority (a public body responsible to combat money laundering /terrorist financing and includes an investigatory authority upon request).
Failure to access to accurate basic and beneficial ownership details by competent authorities in a timely manner was identified by FATF. This new measure aims to give the authorities an immediate access to update the beneficial ownership information.
As per the act the regulators of both banking and non-banking financial institutions can carry out on-site inspections and examinations. While conducting the inspections the regulators must consider following factors
The supervisors of the Mauritius global business sector implement risk-based supervision has some shortcomings was identified by FATF. With the new act regulators have mandated to review the assessment of the money laundering or terrorism financing risk profile of a licensee, when there are major events or any developments in the operations and management of the licensee.
The act with reference to different legislations like Banking Act, 2004, the Financial Intelligence and Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2002 (FIAMLA) and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 2002 (POCA), to provide new severe penalties for non-compliance and breaches of AML/CFT laws which are as follows
The above changes are taken by regulatory bodies of Mauritius to demonstrate a strong determination of Mauritius to meet the FATF recommendations and are committed to improve the country’s AML/CFT regime.