Am I an Obligated Subject before the Financial Investigation Unit of the Attorney General's Office?

April 25, 2023

Authors: Mónica Velasco and Gilberto Calderón

Perhaps you have heard or have been told that your business is required to register with the Financial Investigation Unit (UIF) of the Attorney General's Office or comply with some type of regulation related to the Anti-Money Laundering Law. But is this true, is my company obliged to register or comply with other types of obligations before the UIF?

To answer this question, it is important to determine who are considered obliged subjects before the FIU, this is regulated in Article 2 of the Anti-Money Laundering Law. In this law there is a list of subjects obliged to comply with the framework regulations in such matter:

  1. Any corporation, company or entity of any kind, domestic or foreign, that is part of a financial institution, group or conglomerate supervised and regulated by the Superintendency of the Financial System.
  2. microfinance companies, credit unions and non-bank financial intermediaries.
  3. Importers or exporters of agricultural products and inputs, and new or used vehicles.
  4. Credit card issuers, co-issuers and related groups.
  5. Individuals and legal entities that engage in systematic or substantial transfers of
  6. funds, including pawnshops and other lenders.
  7. Casinos and gambling houses.
  8. Dealers in precious metals and stones.
  9. Real estate companies and brokers.
  10. Travel agencies, air, land and sea transportation companies.
  11.  Individuals and legal entities engaged in sending and receiving parcels and remittances.
  12. Construction companies.
  13.  Private security companies and importers and traders of firearms, ammunition, explosives and similar items.
  14. Hotel companies
  15. Political parties
  16. Corporate service providers and trusts
  17. Non-governmental organizations
  18. National and international investors
  19. Drugstores, pharmaceutical laboratories and drugstore chains
  20. Business associations, consortiums and guilds
  21. Any other private or mixed-economy institution, and commercial companies.

Finally, Article 2, in its final paragraphs, establishes the obligations for the reporting of operations by lawyers, notaries, accountants and auditors. It also establishes the mandatory regulatory compliance for regulated entities that are not supervised by an official institution in their ordinary line of business.

The FIU in compliance with the general framework established by the Anti-Money Laundering Law and with the purpose of delimiting the obligations of the regulated entities in this matter towards a Risk Based Approach perspective has developed the Instructions for the Prevention, Detection and Control of Money Laundering, Financing of Terrorism and Financing of the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction; Article 2 of which reiterates as regulated entities those listed above.

Therefore, it is possible to conclude that if your company or your commercial, industrial or any other type of activity is included in the list described above, it will be necessary for you to begin the process of adaptation and regulatory compliance with the obligations set forth in the Instructions for the Prevention, Detection and Control of Money Laundering, Financing of Terrorism and the Financing of the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Among these obligations, which by way of example you must comply with, it is possible to point out: 1) Register as a regulated entity, 2) Perform an assessment to identify, evaluate and understand your AML/CFT/ATF/AMLF risks and apply resources to ensure that they are effectively mitigated, 3) Appoint a compliance officer or compliance officer, 4) Adopt prevention, control and detection policies with a Risk Approach, among others.

Currently the instructions have an extension for the entry into force of its provisions for some regulated entities, which is due to expire on July 6, 2023, making the obligations contained in these instructions mandatory for all of them.

If you have more questions about whether you are a regulated entity or need support in individual counseling, training on risk management, adaptation of your internal policies in your company or organization, among other aspects, do not hesitate to write to us:

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