New AML Regulations for Cheque Cashing Offices
The European Union (Anti-Money Laundering: Cheque Cashing Offices) Regulations 2019 (the Regulations) were signed into law by the Minister for Finance on 2 December 2019. The Regulations amend section 108A of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Acts 2010 to 2018 (the Acts).
Section 108A introduced, for the first time, a statutory requirement for persons carrying on the business of a cheque cashing office to register with the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI). These Regulations provide further detail on this requirement, including the introduction of a new obligation on the person registered to ensure that the principal officers and beneficial owners are "fit and proper persons". Persons registered under the Acts must also retain certain records for a period of not less than six years. A failure to do so may result in a class A fine (€5,000) and/or imprisonment for up to 12 months on summary conviction, or to a fine of up to €500,000 and/or imprisonment for up to three years on conviction on indictment.
In the main, the Regulations expand on the powers and responsibilities of the CBI in this area, including the following:
- Registration may be granted subject to conditions imposed by the CBI. Failure to comply with these conditions may result in a class C fine (€2,500) on summary conviction, or to a fine not exceeding €100,000 on indictment.
- Where the CBI "reasonably believes" that there may be grounds for cancelling a registration, it may serve a direction in writing instructing that person to carry on its cheque cashing business in accordance with specified conditions, breach of which may also result in a fine or imprisonment.
- The CBI may apply to the Garda Commissioner for information required in determining, in the course of a registration application, whether certain persons are "fit and proper".
Finally, there is a new catch-all requirement for designated persons in financial institutions (as defined by the Acts), who are not caught by any other legislative measure, to register with the CBI.
For further information please contact the Commercial & Technology team.
Date published: 17 December 2019