Overview of the Anti-Money Laundering Division (AMLD)
The lucrative proceeds and wealth originated from serious crimes make it possible for organized crime syndicates to infiltrate all levels of government agencies, legitimate businesses, Financial Institutes (FIs) and different parts of the society. The United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances concluded in Vienna in 1988 (Vienna Convention) requires state parties to constitute laws to penalize Money Laundering (ML) associated with drug trafficking. In 1989’s Summit of G7 in Paris, the leaders of the states recognized the threats exposed to banking system and to FIs, and contributed to the establishment of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to set out measures to combat ML. Sequentially, the FATF 40 Recommendations on AML were released in 1990 and amended in 1996 to require the predicate offences of ML should extend to other serious offences besides drug trafficking. Then in 2001, the FATF issued the 8 Special Recommendations on countering terrorist financing (CTF). In 2004, the FATF further strengthened the agreed international standards on AML/CFT (the 40+9 Recommendations). In February 2012, the FATF completed a thorough review of its standards and published the revised FATF Recommendations as “International Standards on Countering Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism & Proliferation”.
In response to the global trends to curb the detriment caused by ML, the Taiwan’s government drafted the Money Laundering Control Act (MLCA), which was passed by the Legislative Yuan on October 23, 1996 and took effect on April 23, 1997 upon presidential decree. During the past years of implementation and practice, the MLCA underwent amendments in 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2016, and 2018 respectively to tackle the practical problems encountered for reacting to the requirements of the FATF Recommendations and the practical need in implementation.
In order to prevent criminals from abusing FIs and Designated Non-Financial Businesses or Professions (DNFBPs) as vehicles for ML and to detect suspicious activities at the point of transactions, AML legislations around the world require all FIs and DNFBPs to file suspicious transaction reports (STRs).
Taiwan has a similar reporting mechanism provided in Article 10 of the MLCA. Based on the definition in the related international organizations, an authority responsible for receiving and analyzing STRs is called “Financial Intelligence Unit” (FIU). In 1997, in accordance with the MLCA, the Investigation Bureau, Ministry of Justice (MJIB) was assigned by the Executive Yuan to receive STRs and the Money Laundering Prevention Center (MLPC) was established in the same year to act as the Taiwan’s FIU.
In addition, pursuant to Subparagraph 7, Article 2 of the Organic Act of the MJIB passed by the Legislative Yuan on November 30, 2007 and put into practice on December 19 in the same year upon presidential decree, the MJIB is in charge of “ML prevention related matters”. Pursuant to Article 3 of the same Act, the MLPC changed the name to the “Anti-Money Laundering Division” (AMLD) and kept on the same functions of Taiwan’s FIU.