Relevant aspects of the new instructions of the Financial Investigation Unit (FIU) of the Attorney General’s Office

On October 22, 2021, the new Instructions for the Financial Investigation Unit for the Prevention of Money and Asset Laundering, Terrorism Financing and the Financing of the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction were approved, through agreement number 380 issued by the Attorney General of the Republic, which was destined to take effect on November 26 of this year, that is, 30 days after its publication in the Official Gazette.

The instructions are born to legal life to comply with international standards in the prevention of money and asset laundering, and its regulations are developed mainly under the regulation of 3 primary regulations: the 40 recommendations of the FATF, the Central American Convention; and the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, the same with which it is intended that the obligated subjects undergo a national risk assessment to demonstrate the risks that a country faces in the Prevention, Detection and Control of Laundering. of Money and Assets, Financing of Terrorism and Financing of the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

With the entry into force of the new instructions of the Financial Investigation Unit – hereinafter UIF – there have been specific changes, among which the following stand out:

The instructions establishes a new name to refer to the formerly called Compliance Officer, which now with the entry into force will be called Compliance Officer, in turn, it is established in the new regulation that must be hired directly by the company that requires its services, and must reside in the country.

b. There are no exceptions and exemptions for obliged subjects in matters of Prevention, Detection and Control of Money and Asset Laundering, Terrorism Financing and Financing the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, which implies that with the entry into force of the instructions all economic agents are considered obligated subjects of the regulations.

c. The accreditation process is repealed, which entails the modification of the registration information in the FIU and said information will now also be available to all supervisory entities in matters of Prevention, Detection and Control of Money and Asset Laundering, Financing Terrorism and the Financing of the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

d. Foster a culture of risk in the obligated subjects, by creating policies, internal controls, procedures and methodologies that help to understand what the risks are in terms of Prevention, Detection and Control of Money and Asset Laundering, Terrorism Financing and Financing the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

The audit plan will be part of the system for the Prevention, Detection and Control of Money and Asset Laundering, Terrorism Financing and Financing the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, in case of being a regional company and the internal audit is in foreign country, there is a legal obligation to have an internal audit, however, it is not necessary to have a department for this.

F. In the case of companies of the same group, the appointment of the same compliance officer will be allowed, as long as the relationship of the companies with the FIU is verified, and the provisions of paragraph a), on the obligation to reside in the country.

It is necessary to mention that although the entry into force of the instructions was scheduled on November 26, 2021, an extension has been granted until June 6, 2022; the foregoing with the objective that the obliged subjects come into line with the new requirements that have been implemented in the new norm. However, it is important to mention that certain articles in these instructions entered into force as of December 6, 2021, among which the following provisions stand out:

to. From article 27 to article 30 that refer to the freezing of funds of persons designated by the United Nations Security Council, as a precautionary measure enabled by the new instructions.

b. From article 85 to article 91 referring to transitory provisions, among which stand out, the period of 6 months granted by the Financial Investigation Unit, the report of international transfers of funds equal to or greater than one thousand dollars of the United States of America, report of regulated transactions for obligated subjects other than Financial Institutions and of the registry for lawyers, notaries, accountants and auditors.

Due to the foregoing, it is important that within the pending period of entry into force of the new instructions of the FIU, an in-depth analysis is carried out on the current situation of each company, and thus verify the actions to be followed to comply the new instructions, whether it is necessary to update the prevention platform against money laundering and assets; and in the event that there is no registration, that it be carried out with the immediate implementation of those developed in the instructions.

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