New money laundering rules set

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New money laundering rules set

Lawyers, accountants, real estate agents and jewelry sellers will have to keep records of large financial transactions starting in 2018 as part of the government’s efforts to comply with international standards to combat money laundering.

The Financial Services Commission said Thursday that those categories of non-financial businesses will need to maintain records of financial transactions and report when they see suspicious transactions.

Currently, only financial institutions and casinos are required to do so.

Mandating that those non-financial professionals keep track of financial transactions is part of five tasks set by the FSC to fulfill international standards on the prevention of money laundering, which were adopted at the general meetings of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in Busan last month.

Created in 1989, the FATF discusses measures to tackle money laundering activities, financial transactions related to terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

Korea signed up for membership of the FATF in 2009. The FATF has 37 regular members and 24 observers including the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and Asian Development Bank. Shin Je-yoon, former FSC chairman, served as president of the FATF for the past year.

FSC Chairman Yim Jong-yong said at a public hearing on money laundering risks held in Seoul on Thursday that those non-financial professionals are internationally considered “gatekeepers” of money laundering, just like financial institutions.

The FSC plans to adopt related guidelines and rules on the new requirements by the first half of 2018. Korea will be subject to an assessment by the FATF in 2019 on whether or not the country is following the internationally agreed rules on combating money laundering.

If the regulation is introduced, lawyers, for example, will be required to confirm identities of clients, maintain records and report to the authority suspicious transactions when they are hired to help clients manage financial accounts or establish or sell businesses.


BY SONG SU-HYUN [song.suhyun@joongang.co.kr]

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