The European Union (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Regulations 2019 were signed by the Minister and became effective from 18th November 2019. The regulations amend the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010 (the Act).
One of the key changes for accounting firms is the new requirement to have in place “appropriate procedures” for employees, or persons in a comparable position to report a contravention of the Act internally within the firm through a specific, independent and anonymous channel. These procedures should be proportionate to the size of the firm.
Practitioners will need to consider how this can be provided for within their firm. Firms should now update their policies and procedures in this regard and provide the appropriate training to staff.
The regulations require competent authorities, which includes CPA Ireland, to apply a risk-based approach to the exercise of its supervisory functions and to provide access to its employees and officers to relevant information on the domestic and international risks of money laundering and terrorist financing which affect its own sector.
It also requires that competent authorities take measures to prevent a person convicted of a relevant offence from performing a management function in or being the beneficial owners of an accountancy firm.
Practitioners operating within CPA firms and beneficial owners of such firms are now required to inform CPA Ireland if they are convicted of a relevant offence.
A “relevant offence” means –
(a) an offence under this Act,
(b) an offence specified in Schedule 1 to the Criminal Justice Act 2011 , or
(c) an offence under the law of a place (other than the State), consisting of an act or omission that, if done or omitted to be done in the State, would, under the law of the State, constitute an offence under subsections (a) or (b).