Frequently Asked Questions
AML/CFT is a widely used abbreviation for Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism. It embodies the counter measures and strategies developed or being developed to combat money laundering and terrorist financing at national, regional and international levels.
AML/CFT counter measures range from legislation to awareness creation. AML/CFT legislation, for example, criminalises money laundering, defines the offence and penalties and spells out the institutional or other measures put in place to combat financial crimes. AML/CFT supervision relates to compliance with guidelines issued by regulators and other requirements such as ‘know-your-client’ and maintenance of records. The setting up of the FIU in itself is a crucial AML/CFT measure alongside effective investigation and prosecution for offences of money laundering and terrorist financing.
Other AML/CFT measures include assets seizure or forfeiture, training, awareness-creation among the wider public and development of a strong reporting culture to the FIU to protect the financial system from abuses. By and large, AML/CFT frameworks tend to reflect the 40+9 Recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force.
The FIU is Mauritius’ intelligence authority in the national effort to combat Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism. It receives analyses and disseminates financial intelligence submitted through Suspicious Transaction Reports. The FIU provides leads to law enforcement authorities, which are in some way suspicious, and might indicate money laundering or terrorist financing.
A "suspicious transaction" means a transaction which
(a) gives rise to a reasonable suspicion that it may involve –
(i) the laundering of money or the proceeds of any crime; or
(ii) funds linked or related to, or to be used for, terrorism or acts of terrorism or by proscribed organisations, whether or not the funds represent the proceeds of a crime;
(b) is made in circumstances of unusual or unjustified complexity;
(c) appears to have no economic justification or lawful objective;
(d) is made by or on behalf of a person whose identity has not been established to the satisfaction of the person with whom the transaction is made; or
(e) gives rise to suspicion for any other reason.
A "transaction" includes -
(a) opening an account, issuing a passbook, renting a safe deposit box, entering into a fiduciary relationship or establishing any other business relationship, whether electronically or otherwise; and
(b) a proposed transaction.
It is the profit resulting from someone’s involvement in criminal conduct. It includes money, shares and any property. Examples are the proceeds of Tax Evasion, the receipt of a bribe and benefits to a business from failing to comply with the law.
A predicate offence is the criminal activity from which the proceeds of the crime are derived. Money laundering is a derivative crime. Its status as a crime depends on the genesis of the funds involved.
The offence of tipping off occurs when information or any other matter which might prejudice the investigation is disclosed to the suspect (or in the case of terrorism, has reasonable cause to suspect) that: an investigation into Money Laundering is about to begin or has begun, or the relevant authorities have been informed of suspicious activities. The requirement to report a suspicion is not of much use if the suspected person is tipped off to the fact that s/he is under investigation. In the event that a person is found guilty of tipping off he may, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding one million rupees and to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years.
Part II Section (5) FIAMLA 2002
5. Limitation of payment in cash
(1) Notwithstanding section 37 of the Bank of Mauritius Act 2004, but subject to subsection (2) any person who makes or accepts any payment in cash in excess of 500,000 rupees or an equivalent amount in foreign currency, or such amount as may be prescribed, shall
commit an offence.
(2) Subsection (1) shall not apply to an exempt transaction.
"exempt transaction" means a transaction -
(a) between the Bank of Mauritius and any other person;
(b) between a bank and another bank;
(c) between a bank and a financial institution;
(d) between a bank or a financial institution and a customer where -
(i) the customer is, at the time the transaction takes place, an established customer of the bank or financial institution; and
(ii) the transaction consists of a deposit into, or withdrawal from, an account maintained by the Customer with the bank or financial institution, where the transaction does not exceed an amount that is commensurate with the lawful business activities of the customer; or
(e) between such other persons as may be prescribed;
Every bank, financial institution, cash dealer or member of a relevant profession or occupation should immediately make a report to the FIU of any transaction which the bank, financial institution, cash dealer or member of the relevant profession or occupation has reason to believe may be a suspicious transaction. However, reporting entities should, in making their judgment, consider all other relevant information available concerning the person or business to which the suspicion relates and ensure that there are no facts that would negate the suspicion at their level.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is the recognized international standard setter in the AML/CFT combat. Its purpose, besides promoting the adoption of its 40+9 Recommendations, is to evaluate and monitor compliance with its standards. It also carries typologies studies on methods, trends and techniques of money laundering and terrorist financing and responds to new and emerging threats in that area.
The FATF’s membership is presently composed of 34 member jurisdictions and 2 regional organisations.
The Egmont Group (EG) is the recognized international organization which provides a forum for FIUs to improve respective national AML programs and cooperation in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing. The EG also helps in enhancing expertise and capabilities of FIUs’ staffs and fosters better communication among its 120 members.