Sri Lankan parliament passes legislation against money laundering and terrorist financing

Sept 23, Colombo: The Sri Lankan parliament has unanimously approved two key amendment bills against money laundering and terrorist financing in the country.

The Parliament Wednesday (21) unanimously approved amendment bills on Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) No. 5 of 2006 and Convention on the Suppression of Terrorist Financing Act (CSTFA) No. 25 of 2005 presented by the Ministry of Finance and Planning.

The main objective of these amendment bills was to improve the anti-money laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) laws in line with the international standards.

The amendments will strengthen the AML/CFT regime, and facilitate the implementation initiatives undertaken by the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, law enforcement agencies and prosecutors.

Under the amended CSTFA, the terrorist financing law can be applied to any citizen of Sri Lanka as well as to any noncitizen while present in Sri Lanka. The “funds” include any kind of assets whether tangible or non-tangible and/or movable or stationary which are kept in Sri Lanka or outside Sri Lanka.

The Act which earlier was applicable only to terrorist groups has been expanded to include financing by a single terrorist and any terrorist act.

Also the amendment gives powers to the police to freeze any assets of terrorists and properties relating to the terrorist financing or activities before indictment.

The amendments to strengthen the PMLA have expanded the applicability of the law to cover any person who has committed a Money Laundering offence while in Sri Lanka.

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