Iran beefs up money laundering law ahead of FATF session

Press TV – Iran’s parliament has adopted new amendments proposed by the government to the country’s Anti-Money Laundering (AML) law as part of efforts to improve connections to the international banking and trade system.

An article about capital and profit in money laundering replaced an old one and was approved by 148 lawmakers from a total of 210, reports said.

The new law calls for the confiscation of the capital and its profit and envisages jail terms of 2-5 years plus fines if the laundered sum exceeds 10 billion rials ($239,000).

On Sunday, Iranian MPs incorporated an article related to the Financial Intelligence Unit into the money laundering law, which outlines the body’s responsibilities.

The new amendments come ahead of a June session by Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) which is expected to issue a verdict on international transactions and business relationships involving Iran.

In its plenary session in February, the anti-money laundering group decided to maintain Iran’s status as a high-risk jurisdiction for money laundering under US pressure, while continuing to waive the most severe penalties.

Iran has been included on the FATF’s “blacklist” since 2008. The 38-member body has acknowledged Iran’s “high-level political commitment” to an action plan to address its deficiencies in combating money laundering.

Since 2009, the FATF has suspended its most severe penalties against the country, taking into account Iran’s crucial improvements in the area.

Iran expected to be taken off the blacklist in February but the group determined that the steps taken by Iran following the implementation of the nuclear agreement in 2016 were not sufficient to merit a change in the status.

After the lifting of sanctions on Iran, the transaction network SWIFT reconnected several Iranian banks, allowing them to resume cross border transactions with foreign banks.

The FATF, however, stuck to its non-compromising position, urging financial institutions to continue to give “special attention” to dealings and transactions with Iranian companies and banks.