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Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Bill 2018: From the Seanad

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 974 No. 5

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Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Bill 2018: From the Seanad

  The Dáil went into Committee to consider amendments from the Seanad.

  Seanad amendment No. 1:

Section 14: In page 19, line 13, after “customer” to insert “to the extent reasonably warranted by the risk of money laundering or terrorist financing”.

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I am pleased to report these final amendments to the House. I know from debates on earlier Stages that there is general support for this legislation and a common desire that we enact matters efficiently so that we can fulfil our international EU obligations. There are a small number of amendments, mainly of a technical nature, with other more substantive amendments that we can get through.

Amendment No. 1 relates to the requirement for a designated person to monitor customers with whom they have a business relationship. The words to be inserted are to make it clear that this monitoring is to be done only to the extent that it is warranted by the risk in a particular case of money laundering or terrorist financing. It is in line with the EU directive, which mandates "a risk-based approach" to due diligence with regard to relations with customers.

  Seanad amendment agreed to.

  Seanad amendment No. 2:

Section 16: In page 20, between lines 21 and 22, to insert the following:
“(e) in subsection (5), by the insertion of “or financial institution” after “a credit institution”.”.

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan This measure relates to customer due diligence measures for persons who can be described as politically exposed persons. In general, these measures must be carried out before a person opens an account. However, a bank can allow an account to be opened without first carrying out the measures as long as no transactions are carried out on the account, so an account is open and there are no dealings in it. The amendment extends that exception to all financial institutions and it is in accordance with the reading of the directive.

  Seanad amendment agreed to.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Amendments Nos. 3 and 4 are related and may be discussed together.

  Seanad amendment No. 3:

Section 20: In page 24, lines 26 and 27, to delete “and subsection (4)(b)”.

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan These are technical amendments, which relate to the conditions under which a designated person can rely on a third party to carry out anti-money laundering measures on his or her behalf. There is currently a requirement that the person be satisfied that the third party will provide him or her with appropriate documentation and relevant information. These amendments clarify that it is not necessary if certain circumstances apply, including that the person and third party are part of the same group. I point Deputies to Article 28 of the directive, with which the proposal is in accord.

  Seanad amendment agreed to.

  Seanad amendment No. 4:

Section 20: In page 25, lines 1 to 4, to delete all words from “satisfied” in line 1 down to and including “requirements” where it secondly occurs in line 4 and substitute “satisfied that the circumstances specified in paragraphs (a) to (c) of subsection (1A) exist”.

  Seanad amendment agreed to.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Amendments Nos. 5 and 12 are related and may be taken together.

  Seanad amendment No. 5:

New Section: In page 27, to delete lines 12 to 25 and substitute the following:
“Amendment of section 44 of Act of 2010

23. Section 44 of the Act of 2010 is amended by the deletion of “or 43” in both places where it occurs.”.

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan The purpose of these amendments is to remove a requirement to report to An Garda Síochána and the Revenue Commissioners all transactions relating to what is known as a "high-risk third country". A high-risk third country is one which is not considered to have adequate controls for money laundering. The requirement is considered to be unnecessarily broad when combined with the European Commission's new designations of states as high risk. The view here is that this would be unduly burdensome for An Garda Síochána and the business entities involved. We discussed this at an earlier stage of proceedings but since the Bill was published and having regard to discussions that took place both within the House and outside, I think the amendment is considered desirable. There is already something of a requirement to report any transaction that is suspicious. This is a general requirement. In that regard, almost 25,000 reports were received by An Garda Síochána under this requirement last year. The Bill also contains an obligation to apply due diligence of an enhanced nature with regard to customers from high-risk third countries. I would not like Deputies to think that we were in any way diluting or weakening the legislation and have proposed the amendment for that reason.

  Seanad amendment agreed to.

  Seanad amendment No. 6:

Section 27: In page 31, line 12, after “direction” to insert “in writing”.

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan Amendment No. 6 relates to the power of An Garda Síochána to direct that documents and records are kept beyond the normal period of five years. This inserts a safeguard that the direction must be given in writing.

  Seanad amendment agreed to.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Amendments Nos. 7, 8 and 11 are related and may be considered together.

  Seanad amendment No. 7:

Section 34: In page 35, line 37, to delete “section 109” and substitute “section 108”.

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan These amendments transpose part of Article 47, paragraph 2, of the fourth directive. That requires that managers as well beneficial providers of gambling services are persons who are regarded as fit or proper persons. Amendment No. 11 inserts five new sections, requiring that anybody who is a person directing a private members' gambling club or who is a beneficial owner of such a club must hold a certificate of fitness and, if they do not, it will be an offence for any person to engage in activities or business without holding it. The rest of the provisions set out the procedure that will be in place to apply for this certificate of fitness. The application will be made to An Garda Síochána. If the person does not live within the State, it is made to the Minister. A certificate may be refused if a person has been convicted of certain offences. The certificate will last for three years. There is provision for an appeal to the District Court in respect of a refusal to grant a certificate.

Amendments Nos. 7 and 8 are consequential amendments to the numbering of a different section. The House will be aware of the wider work on gambling that the Government is undertaking. We have approved the setting up of an independent gambling regulator. My colleague, the Minister of State, Deputy Stanton, has chaired a working group on reforms in this area which has recently completed its work. While those broader proposals are being developed, the provisions here now will allow us to ensure that persons involved in this sector are persons who can be regarded as fit, proper and appropriate. We do that in respect of our national legislation and so that our EU obligations are complied with and met.

Deputy Anne Rabbitte: Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte I want to speak to the last portion of the Bill that the Minister spoke about introducing relating to the certificate of fitness. I am homing in on the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956. Fianna Fáil brought forward a Gambling Control Bill and I feel this is diluting it. Listening to the Minister's statement, I understand what he is saying. At what stage are he and the Minister of State, Deputy Stanton, in setting up the independent regulator? I would like to hear reassurances about where we are with the setting up of the independent regulator. Why exactly would the Minister have picked out cards clubs as opposed to looking at this in its entirety?

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh I welcome amendment No. 11 in particular. We will support it. We have raised this issue at various stages. As the Minister said in his contribution, there are wider issues of regulation of betting, gambling industries and gambling control, but they are for another day. I acknowledge the progress that the Minister of State, Deputy Stanton, has made but I do not believe the Department has made sufficient progress on this issue. Will the Minister explain exactly when the future gambling control Bill is due before the House? I welcome the amendment because it is a step in the right direction. I hope we can build on it and see further regulation with regard to what is required to counter the use of gambling in private members' clubs and gambling activities to launder money. Why does the measure not include, for instance, bookmakers? This issue has been raised with us and we have raised it before.


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