AML in Spain

In 1988, Spain incorporated money laundering as a criminal offense within its penal code, primarily targeting the prevention of money laundering stemming from the drug trade. As money laundering methods and technological advancements evolved over time, adaptations were necessitated in the strategies employed against these practices. Spain’s response was marked by broadening the scope of money laundering as a criminal offense and augmenting penalties through legislative amendments in both 1995 and 2003. Subsequently, in 2005, Spain introduced a Royal Decree mandating specific obligations for financial institutions. These obligations encompassed facets such as the implementation of “know your customer” procedures, the detection of suspicious transactions, and the maintenance of customer records for a minimum of five years.

The ambit of money laundering laws in Spain encompasses a range of entities including banks, investment firms, credit providers, insurance companies, brokerages, securities entities, money transfer services, and payment institutions. These organizations are regarded as having heightened susceptibility to money laundering and terrorist financing activities. Consequently, they are obligated to fulfill their anti-money laundering responsibilities as a means of safeguarding themselves against financial crimes. The supervisory body in Spain conducts periodic audits on these institutions, imposing administrative fines on entities that fall short of their obligations. This regulatory agency’s sanctions carry the potential to tarnish a company’s reputation and erode its customer base, subsequently impacting its market share.

Being a member of both FATF and the European Union bestows specific responsibilities and duties upon Spain. FATF and the European Union jointly issue guidelines aimed at empowering countries to combat financial crimes in an efficient manner. Countries are expected to establish AML policies and regulations that align with these recommendations, forming the foundation for their compliance efforts. Spain is actively engaged in harmonizing its AML policies and regulations with the standards set forth by the European Union and FATF.

At the forefront of Spain’s anti-money laundering endeavors stands the Commission for the Prevention of Money Laundering and Financial Crimes (CPBC). Led by the Minister of Economy, this commission operates to effectively combat financial crimes. If your institution falls under the umbrella of obligated entities, prompt action is imperative to ensure compliance with AML regulations.