BRASILIA – The House of Representatives approved on Tuesday, in extraordinary session, bill 3443/2008 amending legislation that deals with money laundering in Brazil. The main change is the decoupling of the crime of laundering from the source of the money being washed.
Currently, money laundering is only deemed to occur when the source of the resources being washed originates from specified crimes, usually drug trafficking. With the change, proceeds from any unlawful activity, such as political corruption, can be legally construed as criminal money laundering.
Also adopted were provisions to prevent the deterioration of properties seized under the statute during the forfeiture process. “The judge may determine the anticipated value of seized property and act to protect the property’s value. This will not only protect the assets of the accused but also protect the assets value in the event that the prosecutors prevail in the seizure,” said the rapporteur of the project, Mr Alessandro Molon, of the Workers Party (PT) of Rio de Janeiro.
Another change in legislation is the enlargement of the list of entities that are obliged to provide information on suspicious movements of assets to the Financial Activities Control Commission (COAF). The maximum fine that can be assessed for non compliance in reporting suspicious activity is increased from R$200,000 to R$20 million (approximately U.S. $114,000 to $14 million). The penalty for the crime of money laundering remains the same, three to ten years imprisonment.
“Congress must give its support to the fight against corruption, money laundering, and this is an important opportunity to help the judiciary and prosecutors to combat corruption,” said Molon. The text of the bill must still be reconciled with the Senate bill.
Source for this article: O Globo