The Financial Intelligence Office (GIF) has released a statement welcoming the positive assessment in the latest Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) Mutual Evaluation Report (MER), released last month.
Macau’s positive results were received in respect of its technical compliance with legal frameworks as well as its effectiveness in implementing measures against money laundering, and terrorist financing.
The steps taken leading to the positive assessment began even before 2010 when the Anti-Money Laundering Working Group – which currently consists of 15 government agencies – started to work on the recommendations provided in the MER of 2007. The intention was to address a number of financial regulations in Macau that did not meet international standards.
Since then, various legislation and regulations have been put forward for government review in order to crack down on money laundering and terrorist financing.
According to the statement, the local government “acknowledges the importance of the fight against terrorist financing and proliferation financing.” To this end, the Law on Asset Freezing Regime was introduced in 2016, shortly after an on-site visit by the APG.
Among the many other steps taken to improve the city’s financial oversight during this period were thematic risk assessments (including a periodic review on non-profit organizations) and investigations into “large transaction reports” and suspicious transactions.
The gaming sector, an industry particularly prone to money laundering, has been monitored closely by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) since 2006, GIF noted. “This is a necessary response to the inherent risks of the sector.”
Under the current system, the local government has established a double-scrutiny system for the market entry to junket promoters. The system decrees stringent licensing terms for junkets as imposed by the DICJ, as well as due diligence from gaming concessionaires and sub-concessionaires before entering into a partnership or agreement with junkets.
The GIF noted in the statement that “the outcome of the evaluation does not come [all of] a sudden, but is the result of the continuous work of all the government agencies and private sector [organizations] who have continuously placed tremendous participation in the process.”