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Uruguay – Anti-laundering fine set at US$2m for Uruguay’s casinos

By - 13 March 2019

Casinos in Uruguay that do not report suspicious transactions could be fined as much as up to US$2m, according to new regulations put in place by the National Anti-laundering Secretariat.

Director of the division said that in Uruguay there are four participants that have a legal responsibility to report suspicious activity, two private casinos: Enjoy and Carrasco; and two public operations: the municipal casinos and the General Directorate of Casinos.

Espinosa explained that last year the Anti Money Laundering Secretariat worked with every casino in Uruguay in order to evaluate the risks and the control measures that needed to be put in place, and in October it issued a decree in order to regulate the activity further.

The decree establishes that for those who gamble up to US$3,000 there is no need for customers to provide proof of identity. As bets exceed US$3,000, controls will increase and customers will be asked to provide evidence to confirm the source(s) of funds they use.

For casinos that fail to perform the necessary controls, the penalties range from monitoring and warning, to fines of up to US$2m.

The Secretariat is currently awaiting the results of an inspection to determine if there were omissions when it came to controls over potential money laundering after it was revealed that a VIP player Monica Rivero, gambled more than US$4m between 2007 and 2017 in the Hotel Enjoy de Punta del Este casino along with her husband and brother. Rivero, disappeared two years ago and has been accused of embezzling US$7.6m from the company where she worked over a ten year period. She was found and arrested by Interpol officials in February.

In the wake of the scandal the casino announced that all prevention measures against money laundering were in place. In a statement The Hotel Enjoy de Punta del Este casino said that “it bases its actions on high standards of transparency and an internal culture of strict regulatory compliance” adding that it applies “internal policies, a crime prevention model and strong control measures, for which its casino has never been used as an ingenious way to launder money.”

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