Anti Money Laundering (AML) By Country: Spain

Anti Money Laundering (AML) in Spain

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Money laundering in Spain is an ongoing problem, with the largest source of laundered funds in the country resulting from terrorist financing and organized crime.

The Government of Spain (GOS) remains committed to combating narcotics trafficking, terrorism, and financial crimes, and continues to work to tighten financial controls. The criminalization of money laundering was added to the penal code in 1988 when laundering the proceeds from narcotics trafficking was made a criminal offense. In 1995, the law was expanded to cover all serious crimes that require a prison sentence greater than three years. Amendments to the code on November 25, 2003 made all forms of money laundering financial crimes. The penal code can also apply to individuals in financial firms if their institutions have been used for financial crimes. An amendment to the penal code in 1991 made such persons culpable for both fraudulent acts and negligence connected with money laundering.

In December 1993, specific measures to prevent money laundering were adopted to regulate the legal entities in the financial sector and individuals moving large sums of cash (Law 19/1993). The regulations for enactment were established by Royal Decree 925/1995, which set the standards for regulating the financial system. The regulations were amended in January 2005 by Royal Decree 54/2005. Pursuant to these laws and regulations, the financial sector is required to identify customers, keep records of transactions, and report suspicious financial transactions. Spanish banks are required by law to maintain fiscal information for five years and mercantile records for six years.

The money laundering law applies to most entities active in the financial system, including banks, mutual savings associations, credit companies, insurance companies, financial advisers, brokerage and securities firms, postal services, currency exchange outlets, casinos, and individuals and unofficial financial institutions exchanging or transmitting money (alternative remittance systems). The 2003 amendments added lawyers and notaries as covered entities.

The Commission for the Prevention of Money Laundering and Financial Crimes (CPBC) coordinates the fight against money laundering in Spain. The Secretary of State for Economy heads the commission and all of the agencies involved in the prevention of money laundering participate. Agencies represented include the National Drug Plan Office, the Ministry of Economy, the Public Prosecutor’s Office (Fiscalia), Customs, the Spanish National Police, the Guardia Civil, the National Stock Market Committee, the Treasury, the Bank of Spain, and the Director General of Insurance and Pension Funds. Any member of the Commission may request an investigation.

The Economy of Spain

The Spanish economy boomed from 1986 to 1990, averaging 5% annual growth. After a Europe-wide recession in the early 1990s, the Spanish economy resumed moderate growth starting in 1994.

The Socialist president Rodriguez Zapatero, made mixed progress in carrying out key structural reforms, which need to be accelerated and deepened to sustain Spain's economic growth.

Despite the economy's relatively solid footing, significant downside risks remain including Spain's continued loss of competitiveness, the potential for a housing market collapse, the country's changing demographic profile, and a decline in EU structural funds.

Banking In Spain

Banco de Espana is the central bank of Spain and a member of the European Central Bank (ECB). The central bank also serves as the banking regulator in Spain.

Spanish Currency

The currency in Spain is the Euro, which serves as the currency of the 15 members of the European Central Bank. The states that have adopted the Euro as its currency make up the Eurozone. These countries are: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain. The Euro is the single currency for more than 320 million Europeans.

The Euro was first phased into the global economy in 19999. In the beginning, participating countries had to combat the use of both Euros and former national currencies. Beginning in 2002 national currencies were withdrawn.

The Euro comes in both banknotes and coins. Banknotes are available in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 denominations. Coins are available in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 cent pieces, and 1 and 2 Euro coins.

Other Key Statistics of Spain

Time Zone: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time). Daylight Saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October .

Location: Southwestern Europe, bordering the Bay of Biscay, Mediterranean Sea, North Atlantic Ocean, and Pyrenees Mountains, southwest of France.

Population: 47.27 million (2012 est.)

Labor Force: Approximately 3.5% work in agriculture, 29.8% in industry and 66.6% in services industries. The unemployment rate is 8.3%.

Languages Spoken: Castilian Spanish (official) 74%, Catalan 17%, Galician 7%, Basque 2%.

Trade Organizations: Spain is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).


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