The president recently approved in full a bill passed by Congress that will substantially change the existing punitive rules for crimes and misconduct carried out within the capital and financial markets. The new law introduces some relevant changes to the rules through which the Central Bank and the Securities Commission may punish offences and to the definitions and scope of application of certain financial crimes and wrongdoings, such as insider trading and market manipulation.
Schedule 2 of the Anti-money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Code of Practice 2008 sets out a list of jurisdictions with laws and regulations similar to those of the British Virgin Islands. The principal advantage of relying on Schedule 2 is that business coming from recognised jurisdictions will generally attract the application of reduced client due diligence measures.
The Anti-money Laundering (AML) (Amendment) Regulations 2015 recently came into effect, amending the AML Regulations 2008. The schedule to the new regulations provides a compliance date for every 'relevant person' conducting 'relevant business', subject to any time extension sought. The Financial Services Commission recently issued guidance notes which modify the compliance date and outline the application conditions for an extension.
The British Virgin Islands has announced amendments to its anti-money laundering regime in order to ensure continued compliance with the developing international standards on transparency and anti-money laundering regimes. The changes have the most impact on the eligible introducer regime – in particular, where a BVI-registered agent relies on third-party introducers to obtain and verify the identity of the client.
Under new anti-money laundering legislation, the list of activities classed as relevant financial businesses has been expanded. Unregulated investment funds and some insurance entities have now been given a grace period until May 31 2018 to establish anti-money laundering compliance programmes. This is a welcome move, particularly for unregulated investment funds which were not bound by the preceding regulations and therefore may not have policies and procedures in place.
The government recently adopted updated Anti-money Laundering Regulations. The regulations demonstrate the Cayman Islands' ongoing commitment to comply with the highest international standards on combating money laundering and terrorist financing and aim to ensure consistency with the Financial Action Task Force 2012 recommendations. The move is part of an overall update of the territory's anti-money laundering regime.
Cyprus implements EU anti-money laundering directives through the Prevention and Suppression of Money Laundering Laws 2007 to 2013. The Advisory Authority for Combating Money Laundering is working with the local industry to transpose the EU Fourth Anti-money Laundering Directive and (in due course) the EU Fifth Anti-money Laundering Directive through amendments to domestic legislation.
The Federal Court of Justice recently decided for the first time that the establishment of a compliance management system designed to prevent breaches of the law can reduce fines in accordance with the Administrative Offences Act. The court pointed out that even the optimisation of a compliance management system following compliance breaches can lead to a reduction in fines and provided guidelines for the measures to be taken in such cases.
The new Act to Reform Criminal Law on Proceeds of Crime aims to simplify existing rules regarding the confiscation of assets resulting from criminal offences. The reform negates the principle that confiscation is prohibited if and to the extent that an injured person has a civil claim against the offender for damage compensation or other corresponding legal rights which legally enable the injured person to deprive the offender of any proceeds resulting from the criminal offence.
The Federal Cabinet recently adopted a draft law for the introduction of a so-called 'competition register'. The act will allow for the establishment of a Germany-wide register to record companies which have committed certain criminal and administrative offences. Its aim is to promote fair competition and replace the corruption registers introduced in many German states that deviate from each other with regard to essential issues.
The Federal Financial Supervisory Authority recently established a central contact point for whistleblowers to report misconduct in the financial sector and completed the set up by implementing an electronic whistleblowing system. The central whistleblower system will help to detect and fight breaches of law, legal regulations and general administrative acts. It is not meant to be used for consumer complaints, but to foster disclosures by persons with a special knowledge of a regulated entity's internal affairs.
The Federal Criminal Court recently set out the requirements for an abuse of trust pursuant to the Criminal Code by members of a management board of a stock corporation. The court clarified the relationship between a violation of duties of members of management boards pursuant to stock corporation law and the requirements for a criminal breach of trust.