The efforts of Macao SAR in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing can be traced back to the 1990's. In 1991, the Decree-Law on drug control was promulgated to allow the Government to confiscate assets derived from drug trafficking. The confiscation of assets was further expanded to other criminal activities by the Penal Code in 1995. The Law on Organized Crimes promulgated in 1997 goes further to deal with crimes related to conversion, transfer or dissimilation of illicit assets or proceeds arising from criminal activities. The Decree Law no. 24/98/M in 1998 stipulates that reporting is mandatory when suspicious transactions were detected, and this law formed the basis of the reporting of suspicious transactions by financial institutions and other entities.
There was great progress in the year of 2006. In April, the Macao Legislative Assembly, under Government proposal, passed the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing legislation, Law no. 2/2006 on prevention and repression of money laundering crimes and Law no. 3/2006 on prevention and repression of terrorism. In May 2006, Administrative Regulation no. 7/2006 was published as a supplementary regulation which set up the legal requirements for financial institutions and other non-financial businesses and professions to carry out customer due diligence measures and report suspicious money laundering/ terrorist financing transactions when detected.
To cope with international standard requirements, the new legislation on anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing requires the establishment of a special unit to collect, analyze and disseminate information on suspicious money laundering and terrorist financing transaction reports. On 8 August 2006, the Financial Intelligence Office was established under Executive Ruling no. 227/2006 for this purpose, as an independent unit directly under the Secretary for Economy and Finance and is headed by a director nominated by the Chief Executive.
According to the second phase of administrational restructure of the Macao SAR Government and the recommendations given in the Macao SAR Mutual Evaluation Report 2017 adopted by the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), the Macao SAR Government has taken the decision that the future operation of GIF will be under the guidance of the Secretary for Security, in consideration of continuously strengthening the functions of GIF as well as the overall policy and effectiveness of combating money laundering and terrorist financing. This can further reinforce the commitment and effort of the Macao SAR in anti-money laundering and terrorist financing activities. The current competency and structure of GIF will remain unchanged and the move will take effect on 16 October 2018.
The GIF is granted the following competency to carry out its duties:
- To receive information provided in accordance with Article 7 of the Administrative Regulation no. 7/2006 amended by the Administrative Regulation no. 17/2017 and to establish and maintain a database with such information;
- Analyze the information received, and report the suspicious money laundering activities to the Public Prosecution Office;
- To provide assistance to law enforcement agencies, judicial authorities and other entities empowered to prevent and prohibit money laundering and terrorist financing crimes, based on their requests with clearly stated reasons, particularly in the form of information giving and technical support;
- To provide to and receive from entities out of Macao SAR information about money laundering and terrorist financing crimes, for the implementation of inter-regional agreements or any other international law instruments;
- To collaborate with public entities to establish and revise anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing guidelines they are responsible to issue;
- To develop promotion and education programs for public awareness about anti-money laundering counter-terrorist financing;
- To furnish the Secretary for Security with an annual report on its activities.