By means of Agreement No. 380, issued by the Attorney General on October 22nd, 2021, the new Instructions of the Financial Investigation Unit for the Prevention of Money and Asset Laundering were approved, which will enter into force on November 26th, 2021, thirty days after its publication in the Official Gazette, which took place on October 27 of this year.


Said Instructions abolish the ones currently in use, which were approved in Agreement No. 85 by the Attorney General on May 17, 2013, as well as every other Instructions issued previously by the FIU.


Among the main aspects of the new Instructions, we can mention the following: 


1.      Internal Control and External Audit: The Obligated Subjects must be responsible for the internal evaluation of compliance with the controls applicable to the prevention of money laundering; and the External Auditors of the Obligated Subjects must evaluate and issue a report on compliance with the rules, policies, and procedures for the prevention of money laundering.


2.      Due Diligence: Criteria is established to make a risk classification of clients and counterparties, from which the application of a standard, intensified or simplified due diligence may result.


Obligations are also established regarding the identification of the final beneficiary of legal entities or other structures; as well as the need to update the data of clients or counterparts.


3.      Politically Exposed People (PEP): A classification of national and foreign PEPs is established, providing an exemplary list of the people who should be understood as such. Also, it’s indicated that the PEPs will be considered as such during the term that they serve in office and up to 5 years after their termination in office.


4.      Report on Regular Operations and Suspicious Operations: The mechanisms for reporting regulated operations (in cash or other means), complementary reports and suspicious operations, including their attempt, are being developed more widely.


5.      Compliance Official and Compliance Officer: A clear distinction is made between the figure of the "Compliance Officer", applicable to the obligated subjects who are supervised by the Superintendency of the Financial System (SFS), and the figure of the "Compliance Manager", which applies to the rest of " Obligated Subjects ", identified in Article 2 of the Law Against Money and Asset Laundering, identifying which are the functions that are applicable to said positions, as well as other aspects related to their hierarchical dependence and incompatibilities.


Also, it establishes that the Obligated Subjects supervised by the SFS must constitute a Money Laundering Prevention Committee, which will have the function of supporting the compliance officer in the fulfillment of its preventive functions.


6.      Non-Financial Activities and Professions (NFAP): Activities and professions are identified which, under certain assumptions related to the number of transactions or their object, will be considered as such to those who impose obligations to report transactions, creation of prevention programs, and in the case of legal entities, the need to appoint a Compliance Manager. For your reference the activities and professions considered as such are the following:


  • Casinos and other activities that involve gambling.
  • Real estate agents.
  • Metal and gemstone traders.
  • Corporate service providers.
  • Attorneys, Notaries, Accountants, and External Auditors. We believe it’s important to mention that in the case of these professions there’s an obligation of registering before the FIU and reporting every transaction exceeding $10,000.00 that is made by them or before them.


Do not hesitate to contact us for more details about the implications the new Instructions can have on your company or for help to implement any changes that may become necessary because of them. 


Fernando Montano

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