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Nicaragua: tougher fight against money laundering

Thursday, July 12, 2012

As part of its effort to control money-laundering and terrorist operations, Nicaragua's National Assembly last month passed new rules, which will strengthen the government's ability to cut down on financial transactions, involving illicit funds.

The law, which is expected to come into effect in September, creates a Financial Analysis Unit, an independent agency, headed by a Director, who is appointed by and reports to the President.

Under the new rules, banks, financial cooperatives, micro-finance companies, exchange bureaus, remittance operations and gaming businesses, will all have to report suspicious transactions to the Unit. Currently, only banks normally report such transactions, in this case to the superintendent of the banking sector.

During the next two months, the government will draft regulations, which specify the extent to which the Unit can investigate private transactions. In general, however, it is expected that the practices involved will be similar to those currently applied in the banking sector, such as the reporting of cash transactions in excess of $10,000, as well as operations inconsistent with the history of the client of a financial institution.

The new rules are intended to ensure that Nicaragua is removed from the "grey list" of countries, which do not conform to international standards. The Financial Action Task Force, an organization, which consists of 34 states, including most of the world's developed economies, plus Brazil and Mexico in Latin America, organizes countries into three groups - non cooperating (black list), partly cooperating (grey list), and cooperating.

For more information, please consult Dr. Rodrigo Taboada, at [email protected] or (505) 2254-5454