• Begum Durukan Ozaydin, Erkam Dinc

Amendments to Regulation on Laundering of Crime Proceeds and Financing of Terrorism

The Regulation on Measures for the Prevention of Laundering of Crime Proceeds and Financing of Terrorism (“Regulation”) numbered 2007/13012 was amended by the Presidential Decree numbered 3580 in certain aspects. The changes foreseen by these amendments will enter into force as of 1 May 2021.

What will be changed?

The changes which will come into effect as of 1 May 2021 may be summarized as follows:​

  • The obliged parties within the scope of the Law on Prevention of Laundering Proceeds of Crime dated 11/10/2006 and numbered 5549 (“Law”) is regulated in Article 4 of the Regulation. Pursuant to the amendment, “precious metals intermediary institutions” included in Article 4/1-m of the Regulation and considered among the obliged parties shall now be deemed as “financial institution(s)” and shall have the same obligations with the financial institutions.​

  • The status of “certain non-financial jobs and occupations” is being introduced. Accordingly, the following who are deemed as obliged parties under the Law and the Regulation shall bear this status: (i) dealers of precious metals, stones or jewelries and intermediaries of these transactions, (ii) those purchasing and selling immovable for commercial purposes and intermediaries of these transactions, (iii) notaries, (iv) freelance lawyers, limited to the transactions of purchase and sale of immovables, establishment and abolishment of restricted real rights, performing financial transactions of establishment, merger, management, transfer and liquidation of companies, foundations and associations, and the management of bank accounts, securities and all kinds of accounts and assets included in these accounts, with the exclusion of the information obtained due to professional acts performed within the scope of the first paragraph of Article 35 of the Attorneys Law numbered 1136 and the alternative dispute resolution methods, and provided that it is not contrary to the provisions of other laws in terms of right of defense, (v) freelance independent accountants, independent accountant and financial advisors, certified public accountants, (vi) independent auditing firms authorized to audit financial markets. The obliged parties having this status of “certain non-financial jobs and occupations” shall, similar to financial institutions, be required to pay special attention to the risks of using facilities introduced by new and developing technologies and existing and new business practices including new distribution channels for money laundering and terrorism financing and to take appropriate measures for its prevention. In addition, obliged parties having this status shall be required to pay special attention to transactions with persons residing in risky countries. Under this special obligation, it shall be necessary to obtain and record as much information as possible about the purpose and nature of the transactions which have no apparent reasonable legitimate and economic purpose.​

  • The transaction amount limits, which trigger the requirement to identify customers for the obliged parties, shall be increased from TRY 20,000 to TRY 75,000. The transaction amount limit for electronic transfers shall be increased from TRY 2,000 to TRY 7,500.​

  • It will be possible to exercise remote identification method for natural persons in cases permitted by law.​

  • In customer identification of associations and foundations, a tax identity number shall be included within the information to be obtained.​

  • The verification of the information obtained in the identification process of legal persons residing abroad may be performed through the open sources of the foreign organizations which are equivalent to the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges or other organizations where the relevant data is officially kept.​

  • In terms of electronic transfers, the requirement to include the sender's information in transactions of TRY 2,000 and above in electronic transfer messages shall only be applied to the transactions of TRY 7,500 and above. Also, the information shall be verified.​

  • As another amendment regarding the electronic transfers, information such as name-surname, title, account number of the receiver shall be included in the transfer messages in addition to the information of the sender.

  • Despite it is not required to include information of the sender and the receiver in the transfer messages for the transactions below the specified monetary limit under the Regulation before the amendment, information such as name-surname and account number shall now be required to be included in the transfer messages without seeking a verification. In a nutshell, regardless of the transaction limit, despite the differences in the verification requirement, certain information of both the sender and the receiver shall be included in the transfer messages.

  • Furthermore, amounts and procedures relating to administrative fine and sanctions and other measures shall be amended. Accordingly, obliged parties who act contrary to their obligations shall be given at least 30 days for eliminating the deficiencies. In case the deficiencies are not eliminated at the end of this period, an administrative fine of TRY 500,000 shall be imposed. Upon the notification of the administrative fine, a new period of not less than 60 days shall be given through a written notification. In case the deficiencies are not eliminated at the end of this period, an administrative fine shall be applied twice as much as the first administrative fine. In case the deficiencies are not eliminated within 30 days from the notification of the second administrative fine, the relevant institution shall be notified in order to take measures of suspending or restricting the activities of the obliged party for a certain period of time or decertification. The administrative fines may also be imposed on the responsible board member of the legal person.