AML in Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic has demonstrated its commitment to international cooperation in combating illicit activities within its borders by adopting several international treaties and conventions. Among these, the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption was signed in 1996, and the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime was signed in 2002. To implement and regulate the provisions of these conventions, the Dominican Republic’s Congress passed Law 72-02 on June 7, 2002.

However, in 2012, it became evident that Law 72-02 needed updating to address emerging threats effectively, such as money laundering, terrorism financing, and the funding of weapons of mass destruction. In response to the evolving challenges, the Dominican National Congress initiated the development of new legislation aimed at being a robust weapon in the fight against crime. This legislation was eventually enacted on June 1, 2017.

As a significant destination for foreign investment in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic recognized the importance of maintaining strong monitoring regulations. To attract and reassure current and prospective investors, the country needed to align its anti-money laundering procedures with international norms and actively empower itself in this regard. The implementation of the new legislation and its associated rules underscored the country’s commitment to upholding robust governance and business practices.

The Dominican Republic took a significant step in enhancing its anti-money laundering and terrorist financing measures by promulgating the new Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Act 155-17 (“New Law”) on June 1, 2017. This move was driven by the need to align the country’s legal framework with the latest international standards and ensure a more robust, coherent, and contemporary regulatory structure.

The primary objective of the New Law is to strengthen the regulation of money laundering and terrorist financing activities, adhering to the most recent international guidelines and promoting transparency by providing accessible information about economic agents, their activities, and their beneficial owners. By complying with these international standards, the Dominican Republic can foster international collaboration, secure foreign financing, and avail assistance from global organizations.

An essential aspect of the New Law is its role in safeguarding the Dominican Republic from being added to the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) ‘blacklist,’ which could have hindered foreign investments and adversely impacted the country’s economy. Additionally, the New Law empowers the Dominican government to sanction individuals involved in illicit activities, thereby safeguarding both foreign and domestic investments and ensuring the safety of the Dominican people at large.

The Financial Analysis Unit (UAF) is the main regulatory body overseeing Anti-Money Laundering (AML) in the Dominican Republic. Its core responsibilities include receiving, soliciting, analyzing, and sharing reports on suspected financial activities and cash transactions exceeding $10,000 with competent authorities. The UAF also provides technical assistance to other regulatory bodies.

National Anti-Money Laundering Committee:

This committee was established to promote, coordinate, and recommend policies to prevent, detect, and combat money laundering. Its primary tasks include:

1. Coordinating efforts between the public and private sectors to prevent the misuse of economic, financial, and commercial systems for money laundering.
2. Providing advice to the Executive Power on legal and administrative measures to enhance existing procedures for preventing and detecting money laundering.
3. Monitoring the committee and other institutions established by the new AML law and managing their annual budgets. The committee is chaired by the President of the National Drug Council and includes the Republic’s General Public Attorney, the Minister of Finance, the Superintendent of Banks, and the President of the Drug Control Office.

Custody and Management of Seized Assets Office:

This office operates under the National Committee Against Money Laundering and is responsible for safeguarding, administering, and selling assets seized due to the commission of crimes listed in the law. It has the authority to enter agreements with domestic and international private enterprises for managing confiscated assets.

Other AML regulators in the Dominican Republic include:

1. Central Bank of the Dominican Republic
2. Superintendence of Banks
3. National Drug Council
4. Secretariat of Finance