Countries/Jurisdictions of Primary Concern - Taiwan
As a regional financial center, Taiwan’s modern financial sector, strategic location on international shipping lanes, expertise in high-tech sectors, and role as an international trade hub make it vulnerable to transnational crimes, including money laundering, drug trafficking, telecom fraud, and trade fraud.
Domestic money laundering is generally related to tax evasion, drug trafficking, public corruption, and a range of economic crimes. Jewelry stores increasingly are being used as a type of underground remittance system. Jewelers convert illicit proceeds into precious metals, stones, and foreign currency, and generally move them using cross-border couriers. The tradition of secrecy in the precious metals and stones trade makes it difficult for law enforcement to detect and deter money laundering in this sector. Gambling is legal but only allowed in limited parts of Taiwan’s territory. Taiwan has not yet passed legislation governing the gaming industry, and no casinos have been established. The extent of either online or other illegal gaming is unknown.
Official channels exist to remit funds, which greatly reduce the demand for unofficial remittance systems; however, although illegal in Taiwan, a large volume of informal financial activity takes place through unregulated, and possibly organized crime-linked, non-bank channels. Taiwan has five free trade zones and a growing offshore banking sector, which are regulated by Taiwan’s central bank and the Financial Supervisory Commission. There is no significant black market for smuggled goods in Taiwan.
For additional information focusing on terrorist financing, please refer to the Department of State’s Country Reports on Terrorism, which can be found at: //2009-2017.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/
Do FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONs engage in currency transactions related to international narcotics trafficking that include significant amounts of US currency; currency derived from illegal sales in the U.S.; or illegal drug sales that otherwise significantly affect the U.S.: NO
criminalizATION OF money laundering:
“All serious crimes” approach or “list” approach to predicate crimes: Combination
Are legal persons covered: criminally: YES civilly: YES
Know-your-customer (KYC) rules:
Enhanced due diligence procedures for PEPs: Foreign: YES Domestic: YES
KYC covered entities: Banks; trust and investment corporations; credit cooperative associations; credit departments of farmers’ and fishermen’s associations; Agricultural Bank of Taiwan; postal service institutions that also handle financial transactions; negotiable instrument finance corporations; credit card companies; insurance companies, agents, and brokers; securities brokers; securities investment and trust enterprises; securities finance enterprises and investment consulting enterprises; securities central depositories; futures brokers; trust enterprises; retail jewelers; and third party payment service businesses
Number of STRs received and time frame: 5,662: January - October 2014
Number of CTRs received and time frame: 3,422,102: January - October 2014
STR covered entities: Banks; trust and investment corporations; credit cooperative associations; credit departments of farmers’ and fishermen’s associations; Agricultural Bank of Taiwan; postal service institutions that also handle financial transactions; negotiable instrument finance corporations; credit card companies; insurance companies, agents, and brokers; securities brokers; securities investment and trust enterprises; securities finance enterprises and investment consulting enterprises; securities central depositories; futures brokers; trust enterprises; retail jewelers; and third party payment service businesses
money laundering criminal Prosecutions/convictions:
Prosecutions: 26: January - October 2014
Convictions: 11: January - October 2014
Records exchange mechanism:
With U.S.: MLAT: NO Other mechanism: YES
With other governments/jurisdictions: YES
Taiwan is a member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), a FATF-style regional body. Its most recent mutual evaluation can be found at: http://www.apgml.org/documents/search-results.aspx?keywords=chinese+Taipei
Enforcement and implementation issues and comments:
Taiwan continues to strengthen its AML/CFT regime but is not yet in full compliance with international standards. While Taiwan criminalizes the financing of terrorist activities, it is not an autonomous offense. There are also significant gaps in Taiwan’s asset freezing regime and implementation of UNSCRs 1267 and 1373; deficiencies in customer due diligence (CDD) regulations, including in identifying and verifying customer identity; and the threshold for a serious money laundering offense is too high.
Regulations regarding the reporting of transactions by jewelry stores came into force in January 2012. The responsible agency governing jewelry stores is the Department of Commerce within the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and it is unclear if this department has the capacity to audit jewelry stores. The government is not keeping statistics on jewelry store-related money laundering cases.
Taiwan’s AML/CFT requirements do not apply to several types of designated non-financial businesses and professions (DNFBPs), which remain vulnerable to money laundering and terrorism financing activity. Taiwan should exert more authority over non-profit organizations and should raise awareness of the vulnerabilities to terrorism financing of this sector. Taiwan should take steps to amend its legislation and regulations to bring all DNFBPs and the non-profit sector within the scope of its AML/CFT coverage. Given the increasing threat of alternative remittance systems, such as the precious metals and stones sector, Taiwan’s law enforcement should enhance investigations of underground financial systems such as fei-chien and its link to the international gold trade.
In 2014, Taiwan assisted U.S. law enforcement authorities and agreed to freeze a bank account containing nearly $16 million in illicit proceeds tied to a trade-based money laundering scheme in Los Angeles involving Mexican drug cartels and the importation of garments and textiles into the United States. It was the first time Taiwan had facilitated a significant asset seizure as part of a U.S.-based criminal investigation.
The United States and Taiwan, through their respective legal representatives, are parties to the Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Between the American Institute in Taiwan and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States. Taiwan is unable to ratify conventions under the auspices of the UN because it is not a UN member. However, it has enacted domestic legislation to implement the standards in the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and the UN Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism.
Taiwan should pass legislation to criminalize the financing of terrorism as an autonomous crime, clarify that the law covers terrorism-related activities conducted overseas, establish procedures to allow the freezing of terrorist assets without delay, and continue to address CDD concerns. Proposed legislative amendments to Taiwan’s Money Laundering Control Act address a number of these deficiencies, but remain only in draft form.