LS passes amended money laundering bill

An amendment bill seeking to enlarge the definition of the offence of money laundering to include in it cheating, concealment, acquisition and use of proceeds of crime as criminal activities, has been passed by the Lok Sabha, almost a year after it was introduced in the House.

Members approved the changes proposed in the legislation by a voice vote after holding a discussion on it on Thursday. Finance Minister P Chidambaram moved the amendment Bill in the House for its consideration. It was introduced in Lok Sabha by the then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in December last year.

Explaining to members the meaning of money laundering, the minister said: “The key words of money laundering are anything that is the proceeds of crime and projecting it as untainted property. There must be a crime and there must be proceeds of a crime as if it is untainted property whereas it is really a tainted property. This is money laundering.”

Such crimes have been termed as predicate crimes by the Financial Action Task Force, an inter-governmental body to combat money laundering and terror financing. The Bill has sought to enlarge the definition of the predicate offences of money laundering to include activities which are defined as crime under various other laws, he said.The proposed amendments also seek to introduce the concept of “corresponding law” to link the provisions of Indian law with the laws of foreign countries and provide for transfer of the proceeds of the foreign predicate offence in any manner in India.

The Bill also seeks to introduce the concept of “reporting entity” to include therein a banking company, financial institutions, intermediary or a person carrying on a designated business or profession. “It also includes stock broker and sub-broker,” the Finance Minister clarified. The term “person carrying on designated business or profession” will include activities associated with casino, real estate agent, dealer in precious metals, besides any person engaged in safekeeping and administration of cash and liquid securities on behalf of other person.

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