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A new AML law for Macau

Chris Hamblin, Clearview Publishing, 14 November 2013

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Macau has announced that it will introduce a new money-laundering law next year which ought to allow the authorities to freeze and seize assets in a less constrained way than before.

Macau has announced that it will introduce a new money-laundering law next year which ought to allow the authorities to freeze and seize assets in a less constrained way than before.

Existing provisions for confiscation, freezing and forfeiture of the proceeds of crime are broad in application, but are constrained by the fact that it remains for the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the property to be forfeited is from an unlawful activity. The one exception is the offence of possessing unjustified wealth, which applies mainly to public civil servants. Last year there was only one conviction for money-laundering; the previous year there was none.

Macau, a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China, is not a significant regional financial centre but it is a significant gambling hub and high-net-worth individuals (mostly from mainland China but some Australian) use it in their droves. Its annual gaming revenues topped US$38 billion in 2012. The main sources of laundered funds - derived from local and overseas criminal activity - are gaming-related crimes, property-related offences and fraud.

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