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AML/CTF compliance in Sri Lanka


Money laundering and terrorism financing laws in Sri Lanka?

These laws provide the legal framework for identifying, reporting, and preventing money laundering and terrorism financing activities in Sri Lanka. They also outline the penalties for non-compliance.


Key obligations reporting entities have under Sri Lankan laws?

  • Customer Due Diligence: Identify and verify customer identities and monitor their transactions.
  • Record Keeping: Maintain all transaction records for at least five years.
  • Suspicious Transaction Reporting: Report any suspicious transactions to the FIU.
  • Compliance Officer: Appoint a compliance officer to ensure adherence to AML/CFT laws.
  • Staff Training: Train staff on laws and procedures to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.
  • Reporting to FIU: Provide reports to the FIU as required, including cash transactions and electronic funds transfers.
  • Compliance with FIU: Follow all instructions issued by the FIU, including targeted financial sanctions.


ML/TF regulators in Sri Lanka and what functions do they perform?

  • Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU): The FIU is the key agency in Sri Lanka that manages money laundering and terrorism financing issues. It handles suspicious transaction reports and provides AML/CFT guidance to reporting entities.
  • Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL): As the nation's central bank, the CBSL regulates the financial sector and enforces AML/CFT regulations for all financial institutions in Sri Lanka.


Industry sectors subject to ML/TF regulations?


This refers to all commercial banks, rural banks, and sharia banks. They are required to conduct customer due diligence, report suspicious transactions, and maintain comprehensive records.

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Insurance Companies

All types of insurance providers, including life, general, reinsurance, and sharia insurance companies, fall under the purview of AML/CFT laws. They need to adhere to the same standards of due diligence and reporting as banks and non-bank financial institutions.

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Securities Companies and Capital Markets

Securities underwriters, brokers, dealers, and investment managers, as well as mutual funds. They are obliged to follow AML/CFT regulations in their operations.

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Non-Bank Financial Institutions

Including money remitters, finance companies, credit unions, pawnshops, and leasing companies. Similar to banks, they are also obligated to comply with AML/CFT regulations.

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Larger Financial Institutions

Are more closely regulated due to the higher risks associated with their size and the volume of transactions they handle. This includes larger banks, insurance companies, and other financial services providers.

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Penalties for non-compliance with AML/CTF laws?

From the Financial Transactions Reporting Act, No. 6 of 2006, the penalties for non-compliance with AML/CTF laws in Sri Lanka can be summarized as follows:

  • A person who fails to comply with the requirements of Parts I and II of the Act can be penalized. The exact penalty is determined based on the nature and severity of the non-compliance.
  • The maximum penalty for any given case of non-compliance can lead up to one million rupees.
  • If a person, who has already been penalized once, fails to comply with the requirements again, they can be subjected to an additional penalty. This additional penalty will be double the amount of the penalty imposed on the first occasion.
  • The doubling of the penalty applies for each instance of non-compliance after the first occasion.


Largest fines for non-compliance with AML/CTF laws?

The largest fines for non-compliance with AML/CTF laws in Sri Lanka are as follows:

  1. Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC - USD 15,167.9 fine imposed on February 18, 2021.
  2. Siyapatha Finance PLC - LKR 1,027,070 fine imposed on November 25, 2020.
  3. Richard Pieris Finance Ltd. - LKR 300,000 fine imposed on October 15, 2020.
  4. Commercial Credit & Finance PLC - LKR 1 million fine imposed on October 24, 2019.
  5. Nations Trust Bank PLC - LKR 1,000,000 fine imposed on September 3, 2019.
  6. Bank of Ceylon - LKR 3,000,000 fine imposed on July 29, 2019.