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Control of operations with cash and property

The institution of mandatory control over transactions with money and other property is one of the basic elements of the functioning of the Russian system for countering the legalization and laundering of proceeds from crime, the financing of terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The fact that Russia has occupied a leading position in the international system of combating money laundering in the past few years is largely facilitated by regular legislative activity to improve the legal regulation of the relations in question.

The norms of the Federal Law of August 7, 2001 No. 115-FZ “On counteracting the legalization (laundering) of proceeds from crime and the financing of terrorism” (hereinafter – Law No. 115-FZ) are adjusted annually. Only in 2020, 9 regulatory legal acts were adopted, amending its individual articles. Moreover, the start date for most of the amendments adopted last year dates from January 2021. Some of them came into force from the beginning of the month, others from January 10, and the rest will take effect from January 30. The most ambitious in terms of amendments can be recognized as the Federal Law of July 13, 2020 No. 208-FZ (hereinafter – Law No. 208-FZ).

Let’s dwell on the key January changes in more detail.

Cash transactions
As a general rule, certain types of transactions with cash or other property, the amount of which is equal to 600 thousand rubles, are subject to mandatory control. or the ruble equivalent of this amount for transactions in foreign currency or exceeds the specified amount (clause 1, article 6 of Law No. 115-FZ). The list of types of controlled transactions with cash in cash is fixed in subpara. 1 p. 1 art. 6 of Law No. 115-FZ, which was amended by Law No. 208-FZ.

Firstly, the amendments, which came into force on January 10 of the current year, introduced a clarification regarding such operations as withdrawal from the account or crediting cash to the account of a legal entity. Previously, they were controlled only in cases where the relevant actions were not due to the nature of the economic activity of the organization. Credit institutions could verify the nature of the activity according to the constituent documents of the legal entity or according to information obtained in the course of implementing internal control programs to combat the legalization (laundering) of proceeds from crime (Information letter of the Bank of Russia dated August 21, 2002 No. 1, Letter of the Bank of Russia dated July 13, 2005 No. 99-T).

This restriction has now been removed. From the specified date, all operations to withdraw funds from the account or credit to the account of the legal entity in cash are subject to mandatory control. Accordingly, credit institutions will no longer need to determine whether a cash transaction is in line with the nature of the company’s business.

Here it is worth considering the September clarifications of the Bank of Russia, in which the regulator recalled that the obligation to provide information on transactions subject to mandatory control arises for a credit institution in relation to those transactions that are performed by its customers directly in such a credit institution. The operation of crediting to the bank account of a client – a legal entity or an individual entrepreneur opened with a credit institution, by depositing cash using an ATM or at the cash desk of a third-party bank, is carried out as part of a money transfer operation without opening a bank account (part 2 and part 4 article 5 of the Federal Law of June 27, 2011 No. 161-FZ “On the National Payment System”). Therefore, this operation is not subject to mandatory control in accordance with par. 2 sub. 1 p. 1 art. 6 of Law No. 115-FZ (Letter of the Bank of Russia dated September 2, 2020 No. 12-4-4/3732 “On the application of AML/CFT legislation”).

Secondly, the list of cash transactions subject to mandatory control excludes the exchange of banknotes of one denomination for banknotes of another denomination.

Operations on bank accounts (deposits)
The list of controlled operations on accounts (deposits) in banks has been reduced due to the exclusion of:

transfer of funds abroad to an account (deposit) opened for an anonymous owner;

receipt of funds from abroad from an account (deposit) opened for an anonymous owner.

At the same time, control is additionally extended to operations for crediting funds to an account (deposit) or debiting them from an account (deposit) of a foreign structure without forming a legal entity, the period of activity of which does not exceed three months from the date of its incorporation, or crediting funds to an account (deposit ) or their debiting from the account (deposit) of such a foreign structure in the event that operations on the specified account (deposit) have not been carried out since the moment of its opening. Previously, such control was carried out only in relation to legal entities during the period of activity not more than three months from the date of their registration.

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