New Law on the prevention of money laundering and financing of terrorism

In order to harmonize the legislation in the Republic of North Macedonia with the Directives of the European Union in the field of preventing the abuse of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering and terrorist financing, on 12.07.2022 entered into force the new Law on the Prevention of money laundering and financing of terrorism.

Unlike the old one, the new Law introduces new definitions that regulate certain terms that are regulated in the law and increases the circle of entities that must take measures and actions to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.

The following are introduced as new entities in the law: persons who trade or act as intermediaries in trade in works of art, including when the activity is performed by art galleries or auction houses, persons who store, trade or act as intermediaries in the trade of works of art, when the activity takes place in free zones and persons – providers of services related to virtual assets. The deadline for compliance of the new entities with the new law is 9 months from the date of entry into force of this law.

When it comes to customer identification in addition to the use of an original and valid identification document, the new law provides for possible use of electronic identification means issued under a registered electronic identification scheme.

In addition, the new law regarding entries in the Registry of beneficial owners includes changes to the deadlines for registration, entities that are obliged to register within the same as well as a new approach in determining the beneficial owner in foundations.

In contrast to the previous deadline for entering data in the Registry of beneficial owners, which was 8 days, with the new legal provisions the deadline is 15 days from the registration of the business entity in the commercial register and in the register of other legal entities and a deadline of 15 days from the change of data on the beneficial owner.

The new Law on Prevention of money laundering and financing of terrorism also includes new entities that are obliged to enter the beneficial owner in the register, namely: legal entities whose shares are listed on an organized securities market. The deadline for registration of this type of legal entities is three months from the date of entry into force of the new law.

Considering the fact that the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing is a very complex process, we believe that with the introduced changes and the submission of complete, accurate and timely analyzes and reports on performed suspicious activities or transactions, the integrity of the financial sector and the economy will be effectively protected, and this will strengthen the national security and safety in the establishment of all further business relations.

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