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Home >> China
UPDATED: 20:15, October 31, 2006
China adopts anti-money laundering law
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China's top legislature adopted on Tuesday an anti-money laundering law that broadens the definition of money-laundering crimes to include accepting bribes.

The definition of money laundering has been expanded to include corruption and bribe taking, violating financial management regulations and financial fraud.

The law is expected to come into effect on Jan. 1, 2007.

Previously, the law only identified drug trafficking, organized crime, terrorist crimes and smuggling as money laundering crimes.

China's officials and analysts believed the coverage is too narrow. They called for stepping up efforts to combat money laundering, which has risen in recent years along with activities such as embezzlement, drug trafficking and other smuggling.

The law demands financial and some non-financial institutions to maintain record on clients and transaction records and to report large and suspect transactions.

The People's Bank of China, or central bank, is the nerve center of the anti-money laundering campaign. Its provincial branch offices are authorized to investigate suspect fund transfers of financial institutions.

The law demands financial and certain non-financial institutions to keep identity information of clients and transaction records, report large and suspect transactions.

The law offers a legal basis for checking the flow of cash of corrupt officials, said Lang Sheng, a official on criminal law with the NPC Standing Committee.

The People's Bank of China, or central bank, is the nerve center of the anti-money laundering campaign. Its offices are empowered to monitor and investigate suspect money flows and mete out administrative punishment to employees for allowing the illegal transfer of money

The move is designed to widen the net to monitor the illicit flow of money to combat money laundering.

According to the China Anti-Money Laundering Monitoring and Analysis Center, an office under the central bank set up in 2004, 683 suspicious money laundering cases had been reported to the police by the end of 2005. They involved 137.8 billion yuan (17.2 billion U.S. dollars) and over one billion U.S. dollars.

The law does not detail the legal power of the center, but allows it to gather "necessary information from departments and institutions under the State Council".

The law is also expected to help facilitate China's application to the Financial Action Task Force -- a Paris-based inter-governmental body with 33 members that develops and promotes policies to combat money laundering. China became an observer in 2005.

The law also pledges to step up coordination with other countries to combat global money laundering, promising to exchange information with overseas anti-money laundering organizations.

In April, the central bank issued a series of draft regulations designed to boost efforts to rein in money laundering across its banking, securities and insurance sectors.

China began to draft the anti-money laundering law in 2004.

Source: Xinhua

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