In India, the Minister of State for Finance has tabled a bill in Parliament that would amend the nation’s Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002 and require money transfer providers to abide by mandatory reporting obligations.
If successful, Pawan Kumar Bansal’s bill would also see payment gateways such as Visa and MasterCard along with money changers and casinos come under the ambit of India’s money laundering laws.
Introduced in the Rajya Sabha, India’s upper house of Parliament, on Friday, the proposed bill introduces a new category of offence with cross-border implications for fighting terrorism while treating insider trading and market manipulation as laundering offences with stricter punishments. Offences related to human trafficking, piracy and environmental crimes along with over or under invoicing customs would also be punishable under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
The mandatory reporting requirements that could be required of money transfer providers are now only applicable to banks and intermediaries. Under current rules, every banking company, financial institution and intermediary has to maintain a record of all transactions for ten years with all histories above a certain limit submitted to the Financial Intelligence Unit for dissemination to other agencies.
The draft legislation would also empower officials ‘to search premises immediately after the offence is committed’ with the investigating agency able to provisionally seize any property or search anyone involved up to 90 days from the initiation of an enquiry. Officials would also be able to increase the period for the provisional attachment of property up to 150 days.
If passed, the amendments would make India’s money laundering laws compliant with the Financial Action Task Force, which is an inter-governmental body founded by G7 nations to develop policies to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.