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Implementation of the AML Directive in Poland

By Magdalena Gmur

The first quarter of 2017 saw extensive amendments being made to the Polish Gambling Act. However, gambling operators should now focus their attention on proposed anti-money laundering (AML) regulations, which may also affect their business activity. The Polish government has just published the first draft of the new Act on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism (Draft AML Act), which will implement into Polish law  Directive EU 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing.

The Draft AML Act obliges gambling operators and other institutions subject to its regulations to take appropriate actions in order to identify and assess risks related to money laundering and terrorism financing. In addition, it stipulates that financial security measures be documented and transaction records be kept. It also contains comprehensive rules for freezing bank accounts and suspending transactions which may be related to crime, money laundering or terrorism financing.

Under the Draft AML Act, gambling operators will have to apply security measures with respect to the placing of bets or the receiving of winnings equal to or exceeding EUR 2,000, whether the transaction is a single operation or several operations that appear to be linked. In such cases, the client’s identity will have to be verified, confirming data such as name, nationality or ID number based on an ID document or other document originating from a reliable and independent source. It should be noted that there is no obligation to contact the client directly (face-to-face) in order to verify his/her identity. Another key point is that the Draft AML Act makes it possible to use the services of third parties – which are institutions subject to the regulations of the Act (e.g. banks, payment institutions or mail operators) – to apply financial security measures.

The Draft AML Act is currently subject to consultation with various governmental and non-governmental bodies, so it is possible that its provisions may be significantly modified before it is finally enacted.