AML in Austria

In Austria, the act of money laundering encompasses the act of concealing illicitly obtained earnings arising from specific criminal undertakings, such as fraud, contraband, and human trafficking. As a result, offenses like money laundering and the facilitation of terrorist funding are subject to stringent penalties in Austria. The country has established a legal framework and set of regulations aimed at combating money laundering activities. Financial entities and establishments engaged in gaming and gambling that are identified as carrying elevated risk profiles are obligated to adhere to these stipulations.

The legality of casinos and gambling in Austria is generally upheld, barring certain exceptional circumstances. Casinos and financial institutions stand out as potential targets for potential money laundering endeavors. To counteract this, Austria has implemented regulatory statutes pertaining to casinos, which encompass provisions related to Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT). Furthermore, within Austria, there are established routines for bank transfers, monetary remittances, and both formal and informal money transmission systems. These activities are likewise subjected to regulation and oversight within the Austrian context.

Furthermore, it’s important to note that Austria is not considered an offshore haven for illicit funds, and it lacks designated free trade zones. This characteristic can be regarded as a deterrent against the occurrence of money laundering within Austria.

Austria holds a significant position as a financial hub within its region. It exercises notable influence over banking markets in Southeast, Central, and Eastern Europe. However, Austria is not exempt from concerns related to financial misconduct, including money laundering. This illicit activity often stems from factors like fraud, corruption, arms trafficking, tax evasion, and human exploitation. Additionally, Austria grapples with crimes such as drug distribution, theft, and fraud.

Turning to Austria’s economic landscape, it closely aligns with other economies in the European Union. Characterized by a developed market economy, elevated living standards, and a skilled workforce. The foundation of Austria’s economy rests on a robust industrial sector, a sizable service industry, and a well-established albeit small agricultural domain. On the financial front, Austria has generally exhibited a positive standing relative to other countries in the eurozone. Nevertheless, it remains exposed to external risks, notably the prospect of unexpectedly feeble global economic growth that could jeopardize its export market. Notably, there are currently no national sanctions targeting Austria.

The FATF carries out assessments of countries, and these evaluations are prepared in collaboration with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. These evaluations encompass not only FATF member nations but also countries that are not members. The primary objective of these evaluations is to assess the adherence of countries to FATF standards. Austria underwent its inaugural review by the FATF during the period of 2015/2016, and the findings from this evaluation were unveiled in September 2016. The most recent Follow-up Report & Technical Compliance Re-Rating for Austria was released in 2018. As per this assessment, Austria is not included in the FATF List of Countries with significant anti-money laundering (AML) gaps. Moreover, out of the 40 FATF recommendations applicable to Austria, 18 were found to be substantially compliant, while the remaining 18 were deemed compliant.

In Austria, various authorities such as the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Financial Market Board, and the Austrian National Bank have established regulations applicable to the required institutions. Additionally, the FATF holds a presence within Austria, contributing to its role as a money laundering regulatory body.

Beyond the regulations stipulated by local governing bodies, Austria is also obligated to adhere to the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) directives put forth by the European Union. Due to Austria’s partial compliance with the provisions of the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive at the national level, the European Union brought the matter before the Court of Justice of the European Union for resolution.

Furthermore, Austria’s compliance efforts extend to a range of domestic regulations aimed at preventing money laundering. These include regulations specific to various sectors, such as:

– Lawyers’ Act
– Insurance Supervision Act
– Banking Act
– Gambling Act
– Trade Act
– Code on Notaries Public
– Stock Exchange Act
– E-Money Act
– Payment Services Act
– Securities Supervision Act
– Investment Funds Act

In Austria, a multitude of regulatory bodies and associated frameworks undeniably exist to thwart the occurrence of money laundering activities. The prevailing legal statutes also encompass pivotal responsibilities, and institutions falling short of these obligations face sanctions administered by the regulatory bodies. Similar to financial institutions, the implementation of Customer Due Diligence (CDD) and Know Your Customer (KYC) measures holds paramount significance within Austria to counteract anonymized transactions and preclude potential money laundering incidents. This methodology ensures that the true identities of customers, employees, or partners are verified, facilitating the identification and assessment of risks. Such protocols underscore the prescribed approach for customer identification procedures within Austria.

This process should be invoked under the following circumstances:

1. Prior to establishing an enduring business affiliation with a financial institution.
2. When conducting transactions exceeding a value of 15,000 Euros.
3. If the payment or deposit amount reaches or surpasses 15,000 EUR.
4. In instances of suspected money laundering or terrorist financing.
5. In situations where doubts arise concerning previously acquired identity information.
6. When dealing with a minor or a legal entity as a customer.