More Power for the Financial Information Unit

Javier CanosaPartner, Canosa Abogados

On December 9, 2010 the Official Gazette published decree No. 1936/2010 (the “Decree”), of the National Executive Branch that expanded the powers of the Financial Information Unit (the “UIF”) granting it inspection powers and the role of coordinating the local efforts to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing.

By means of the Decree the Federal Government assigned to the UIF the role of national representative before relevant international agencies that fight money laundering, and also that of coordinator at national, provincial and municipal levels of the local efforts to fight money laundering and terrorism financing, with the power to lead relevant domestic agencies, such as the Central Bank, the National Securities Commission, the Superintendence of Insurance and the Federal Tax Authorities.

By granting more powers to the UIF, the Decree aims to improve money laundering controls in Argentina, in response to the report that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) issued on October 22, which stressed that Argentina has not complied satisfactorily with the 40 + 9 recommendations issued by that agency.

In this context the UIF may order the implementation of internal control systems by all the entities obliged to report suspicious activities, such as financial institutions, insurance companies and persons who habitually run games of chance. In addition, the UIF may ask the Attorney General’s Office to request search warrants from the courts in order to carry out its investigations. To that same end, the powers assigned to the UIF through the Decree include procedures for monitoring, supervising and inspecting in situ entities that are obliged to report suspicious conducts and transactions to the UIF.

The Decree came into force on December 21st 2010.