Enactment of Law 155-17 against Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism

11 September 2017

President Danilo Medina enacted Law 155-17 against Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism, replacing and repealing Law 72-02, on money laundering arising from illicit drug trafficking.

The Obligors must adopt, develop and execute a compliance program based on risk, appropriate to the operations they carry out, such as policies and procedures for risk assessment in terms of money laundering; and to carry out due diligence of its clients, especially the final beneficiaries.

Obligors must also report all multiple cash transactions of their clients in excess of USD 15,000.00 in a 24-hour period.

Law 155-17 defines the final beneficiary as “the natural person exercising the final effective control over a legal person” or “having at least 20% of the capital” of that legal person.

Law 155-17 also defines the “Screen Banks” as “financial entities that do not have a significant physical presence in which they have been constituted and have not declared before the authorities their connection with a local economic subject“, prohibiting Obliged Subjects to carry out operations with that type of banks.

In another order, Law 155-17 treats financial crimes, tax offenses and unjustified enrichments as precedent or determining infractions.

An important aspect of Law 155-17 is that it prohibits any natural or legal person from accepting the liquidation or payment of acts or transactions through the use of cash or precise metals, in the amount of more than DOP 1,000,000.00 for rights over real estate, DOP 500,000.00 in the case of motor vehicles, and DOP 250,000.00 in the case of shares or corporate shares.

The sanctions provided by Law 155-17 range from six (6) months to forty (40) years of imprisonment, and fines of twenty (20) to four hundred (400) minimum wages, or from DOP 300,000.00 to DOP 5,000,000.00; in addition to other disqualifications and/or dissolutions, as applicable.