03.09.14

Time to put on your “POCA” Face

Danielle Stiebel Johnson
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Time to put on your “POCA” Face

At the 2014 Gaming Industry Summit of the Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission news of the designation of Casino Operators and Gaming Machine Operators as non-financial institutions under the Proceeds of Crime Act ("POCA") created quite a buzz amongst participants. The murmurs amongst participants suggested that there was some confusion regarding their obligations as designated non-financial institutions. It is important that all Designated Non-Financial Institutions ("DNFIs") understand their obligations and put on their "POCA" face to become compliant with the law. As of April 1, 2014 real estate dealers, casino operators, gaming machine operators, public accountants and attorneys were designated as non-financial institutions by the Minister of Finance for the purpose of the Proceeds of Crime Act and Regulations ("POCA").

Why the Designation? The Financial Action Task Force ("FATF") has found that certain professions and industries (usually financial institutions and the DNFIs) are susceptible to being used in the layering and integration stages of money laundering, as well as, as a means of disguising the origin of funds before placing them into the financial system. FATF characterises certain professionals as "gatekeepers" because they "protect the gates to the financial system" through which the launderer must pass in order to succeed.

DFNIs ObligationsPursuant to the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering Prevention) Regulations, DNFIs may be held liable for money laundering where they: 1. Know or believe or have reasonable grounds for knowing or believing that another person has engaged in a transaction that could constitute or be related to money laundering; and 2. The information or matter on which the knowledge or belief is based or which gives reasonable grounds for such knowledge or belief came to them in the course of business in the regulated sector; and 3. They fail to report such cases of money laundering.

Accordingly, it is necessary to impose anti-money laundering responsibilities on DNFIs when they participate or assist clients/customers in certain transactions. Under POCA DNFIs obligations include: 1. Appointing a Nominated Officer 2. Mandatory Reporting 3. Mandatory Record Keeping 4. Anti-Money Laundering detection policies/procedures

Appointment of a Nominated Officer DNFIs shall nominate an officer of the business who performs management functions as the person to be responsible for ensuring the implementation of the programmes, policies, procedures and controls required by the POCA Regulations for preventing and detecting money laundering, including the reporting of transactions. Members of staff report to the Nominated Officer where they have grounds for believing that a client or other person has engaged in a money laundering transaction.