Tai­wan bat­tles money laun­der­ing

> Mea­sures in­clude train­ing staff, beef­ing up fi­nan­cial sys­tems af­ter be­ing taken off Asia-Pa­cific group watch­list

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ -

TAIPEI: Af­ter Tai­wan’s state-run Mega Fi­nan­cial Hold­ing Co was fined US$180 mil­lion (RM767.6 mil­lion) by US au­thor­i­ties for lax en­force­ment of anti-money-laun­der­ing rules at its New York branch, the bank started a rig­or­ous train­ing pro­gramme for its staff.

Now, like Mega Fi­nan­cial, com­pa­nies across Tai­wan are work­ing to get staff and sys­tems up to speed af­ter the is­land passed laws to meet in­ter­na­tional stan­dards on com­bat­ting money laun­der­ing and was taken off a watch­list by the Asia Pa­cific Group on Money Laun­der­ing (APG).

“Un­for­tu­nately, Tai­wan has earned a name for it­self as a par­adise for money laun­der­ing,” Deputy Jus­tice Min­is­ter Tsai Pichung told Reuters.

Money laun­der­ing and cy­ber­crime con­nec­tions to Tai­wan, which is also in the process of push­ing through a cy­ber se­cu­rity bill, have grabbed global head­lines.

US au­thor­i­ties fined Mega Fi­nan­cial US$180 mil­lion last year for lax en­force­ment of anti-money-laun­der­ing rules at its New York branch.

Some money from the US$170 mil­lion cy­ber heist of India’s Union Bank of India was trans­ferred through Tai­wan’s Bank Si­noPac. An in­ter­na­tional crime ring used mal­ware to steal US$2.6 mil­lion from the ATMs of Tai­wan’s First Bank.

Tai­wan was one of the six most tar­geted coun­tries of the Wan­nacry ran­somware at­tack ear­lier this year, ac­cord­ing to se­cu­rity com­pany Avast.

Since 2011, 800 peo­ple from China and Tai­wan have been de­ported from Cambodia on sus­pi­cion of tele­coms fraud.

Fol­low­ing its US fine, Mega Fi­nan­cial said clean­ing up its act is a top pri­or­ity.

US au­thor­i­ties had said the Mega branch had been “in­dif­fer­ent” to the risks as­so­ci­ated with trans­ac­tions in­volv­ing Panama, a high­risk area for money laun­der­ing.

“What hap­pened at our New York branch was just ter­ri­ble,” said Robert Tsai, a se­nior ex­ec­u­tive-vice pres­i­dent, re­fer­ring to the fine and en­su­ing scan­dal.

“Half of our 6,000 clerks have been cer­ti­fied with anti-money laun­der­ing train­ing. How each of our branches im­ple­ments the rules and en­sures proper train­ing is the top pri­or­ity for our busi­ness.”

To gain in­ter­na­tional con­fi­dence in its an­ti­money laun­der­ing mea­sures, Tai­wan will have to demon­strate it is putting the laws into prac­tice. The APG will re­view Tai­wan in 2018.

“The visit will fo­cus on how ef­fec­tively Tai­wan will have ac­tu­ally im­ple­mented the anti-money laun­der­ing rules,” said Liang Hung-lieh, part­ner of Pricewater­house­Coop­ers Tai­wan.

“The APG’s on-site re­view will be new to most of the as­sessed, in­clud­ing banks, non­bank fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions and in par­tic­u­lar non-fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions such as lawyers, pub­lic cer­ti­fied ac­coun­tants and other pro­fes­sional ser­vice providers.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.