The Financial Services Commission issues the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Handbook

The Parliament of Mauritius has recently taken a number of steps to strengthen its anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism framework in Mauritius. These include changes made to the Financial Intelligence and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2002 ("FIAMLA") to broaden the scope of preventive measures, the replacement of the previous FIAMLA regulations with the Financial Intelligence and Anti-Money Laundering Regulations 2018 (the "Regulations"), and the enactment of the Anti-Money Laundering and Combatting the Financing of Terrorism And Proliferation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2019 and the United Nations (Financial Prohibitions, Arms Embargo and Travel Ban) Sanctions Act 2019.

In the same vein, the Financial Services Commission (“FSC”), which is the regulator for non-banking financial services and which has the mandate to establish norms and standards in order to preserve and maintain the good repute of Mauritius in the financial services sector, has now issued the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Handbook (the “Handbook”) which supplements the Code on Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing that was issued by the FSC in March 2012 (the “Code”).

The purpose of the Handbook is to assist and provide guidance to financial institutions to comply with the requirements of all relevant legislation pertaining to money laundering and terrorism financing, financial crimes and other related offences. A “financial institution” is defined in the FIAMLA as an institution, or a person, licensed or registered or required to be licensed or registered under section 14, 77, 77A or 79A of the Financial Services Act 2007, the Insurance Act 2005, the Securities Act 2005, or the Captive Insurance Act 2015.

The Handbook complements the Code by, inter alia, emphasizing on the risk-based approach to be adopted by financial institutions for implementation of measures that correspond with the potential risks that may be identified in the business, providing an overview of money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation offences, highlighting the importance of appointing a compliance officer, a money laundering reporting officer and a deputy money laundering reporting officer as part of good corporate governance and compliance with AML/CFT laws in Mauritius and setting out the minimum CDD requirements, as well as enhanced and simplified due diligence procedures that are applicable to financial institutions.

The purpose of the Handbook is to illustrate and provide examples of best practice, and assist financial institutions in complying with AML/CFT laws. Although the Handbook is for guidance purposes, the FSC will consider the Handbook when assessing the level of compliance to the FIAMLA, the Regulations and the Code. 

*This article should not be construed as legal advice and is made for information purposes only. Should you require legal advice on AML/CFT related matters, please contact chambers@blc.mu.