Asia Pacific Group gives MSAR thumbs up

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The Asia Pacific Group (APG) has approved the Mutual Evaluation Report on the MSAR in its annual plenary session in Colombo, Sri Lanka, according to a release by the local Financial Intelligence Office (GIF). This comes after an audit by the group late last year to see if it had improved on suggestions provided in its last audit, in 2007, in order to enforce anti-money laundering (AML) and counter terrorist financing measures.
The release notes that the MSAR received two results indicating ‘low effectiveness’ of the 11 ‘immediate results’ areas under evaluation, as well as three ‘moderate effectiveness’ results, however the GIF did not specify in which areas. Business Daily contacted the GIF for details, but had not yet received a response by the time this went to print.
Contrasting these are the six areas in which the MSAR received ‘substantial effectiveness’ which, according to the GIF ‘places the MSAR on the highest ranking of compliance amongst the members of the APG’.
These results were in the areas of international cooperation, supervision, legal persons and associates, use of financial information, preventative measures and financial sanctions against the financing of terrorism and financial sanctions against the financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
The group further notes that the group against money laundering and financing of terrorism has demonstrated ‘efficiency in the coordination of policy and elaboration of strategic plans’.
Of the technical compliance assessment, the GIF notes that the MSAR obtained ‘37 compliant and largely compliant ratings out of the 40 Financial Action Task Force Recommendations and only 2 partially compliant and 1 non-compliant rating’.

Gaming
‘According to the Mutual Evaluation Report 2017, licensing controls are robust in the Macau gaming sector for both concessionaires/sub-concessionaires and junket promoters,’ notes the GIF release, further noting that the local government ‘is taking a more stringent approach towards licensing and the supervision of junket promoters which are also subject to enforceable AML/CFT requirements’.
‘AML/CFT obligations contained in the updated DICJ (Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau) AML/CFT Guideline and understanding of ML (money laundering)/TF (terrorist financing) risks are well understood by the concessionaries and sub-concessionaries. Nevertheless, the Macao SAR Government acknowledges that the understanding of the updated AML/CFT obligations and ML/TF risks in the junket promoter sector could be further improved,’ notes the release.
The MER further notes that the DICJ’s AML/CFT team is ‘experienced and suitably qualified’ and that the quality of its audits reviewed during the evaluation ‘was robust’.