and efficiency must go hand in hand with continuous, effective defence of the corporate structure’s integrity.
To prevent banking, financial and insurance intermediaries from being involved in transactions originating from criminal activities is consistent with protecting the sound and prudent management of intermediaries, the transparency and correctness of conduct and the overall stability, good functioning and competitiveness of the system.
The financial sector’s supervisory rules are aimed at ensuring the efficiency of markets, the promotion of competition, proper conduct, the integrity of corporate officers, transparency in ownership structures and relations with customers, and effective organizational arrangements and internal controls, contributing to preventing the use of financial machinery for money-laundering transactions.
Anti-money-laundering compliance costs fall under the heading of organizational safeguards for correct corporate management and are an important component of corporate operations. They must be evaluated as investments able to generate positive returns in terms of stability and reputation.
The evolution of banking and financial legislation, culminating in the Legislative Decree 385 of 1 September 1993 (the 1993 Banking Law) and Legislative Decree 58 of 24 February 1998 (the Consolidated Law on Financial Intermediation) lays stress on the issues of organization and internal controls for the purposes of sound and prudent management of intermediaries. In this context, it is essential that the operating organization and system of controls be able to keep intermediaries from becoming involved or tolerating forms of illegality that can jeopardize their stability.
In increasingly open markets, criminals can more easily exploit the holes in the protective net established by the various countries. The need to attract capital can lead counties to adopt permissive regulations, giving rise to improper competition among systems. The adoption of common basic regulations by all countries is therefore necessary.
Numerous acts adopted in different fora testify to the attention paid by the international community to the fight against money-laundering.
The European Union has approved a Directive (91/308/EEC of 10 June 1991) indicating minimum measures to prevent the use of the financial system for money-laundering purposes. A proposed amendment is being studied that would extend the scope of reportable transactions and the categories of persons subject to the requirements.
The shift to the single currency, in and of itself, appears to be neutral in terms of compliance with the provisions against money-laundering, although the phase of banknote conversion could nonetheless be an opportunity to launder illegal funds.
An essential task of stimulating awareness and providing orientation is performed by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), set up by the summit of the Group of Seven countries in 1989. The recommendations adopted by the FATF identify essential safeguards: identification and knowledge of customers, preservation of data, careful evaluation of all transactions, reporting of suspicious transactions. The FATF has also begun to evaluate the different legislative solutions.