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Money laundering Act to cover casinos, credit cards
June, 06th 2008

The government has decided to bring casinos, credit cards and money changers under the ambit of the money laundering law.

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday gave its approval for introduction of Prevention of Money Laundering (Amendment) Bill, 2008 in Parliament.

According to this amendment, it will be mandatory for financial intermediaries to report all suspected transactions involving international transfers to the financial intelligence unit (FIU).

At present, only banks and other financial institutions have to report suspicious transactions on a regular basis to the FIU under the finance ministry.

This bill will arm the government with more powers to prevent the flow of foreign currency coming into the country via illegitimate channels and making its way to terror organisations.

It will enable the Centre to meet certain domestic needs and international obligations. The finance ministry had favoured the changes as Reserve Bank of India has control only over banks, while money transfer service providers are in operation without any control, sources said.

"The bill will give more teeth to the legislation with provisions for punitive action for money laundering. The amendments to PMLA are being made in line with the recommendations by the Financial Action Task Force, an inter-governmental body founded by G7 countries to develop policies to combat money laundering and terrorist financing," information and broadcasting minister Priyaranjan Das Munshi told reporters after the meeting.

The Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PML Act) was enforced in 2005 to prevent money laundering and provide for attachment, seizure and confiscation of proceeds of crime obtained, directly or indirectly from such activities.

The Cabinet also approved the implementation of the east-west Metro Corridor project in Kolkata, covering a length of 13.77 km at a cost of Rs 4,676 crore.

Separately, the Cabinet committee on economic affairs approved the revised draft agreement between the US and India for financing education exchange programmes.

According to the draft, the name of Fulbright Scholarship has been changed to Fulbright-Jawaharlal Nehru Scholarships.

The deepening of the channel and basin of Tuticorin Port to cater to bigger vessels at an estimated cost of Rs 538 crore, was also approved.

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