India: Prevention of Money Laundering Act Will Need More Changes

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India will have to make money laundering an explicitly standalone offence to upgrade its compliance ahead of the on-site mutual evaluation by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which is due in November-December 2020.

Among the key recommendations of the FATF, an international body that sets global standards for fighting illicit finance, is that money laundering be made a standalone offence.

Despite several amendments, the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) remains a predicate-offence-oriented law. This means a case under the Act depends on the fate of cases pursued by primary agencies such as the CBI, the Income Tax Department or the police. The latest instances are the verdicts in the 2G spectrum and Aircel-Maxis cases by the CBI courts, in which the money laundering angle probed by the Enforcement Directorate fell apart.

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