Will your Notary Public become the Police ?
The Costa Rica legislature is currently debating an amendment to their drug law (Ley sobre estupefacientes, sustancias psicotrópicas, dorgas de uso no autorizado, actividades conexas legitimación de capitales y financimiento al terrorismo Law 7786)
Under the proposed amendment which is adopted from the standards imposed by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a Notary Public in Costa Rica will be required to:
- Conducting due diligence on the clients
- Maintaining records and making records available to authorities
- Comply with the dispositions for politically exposed persons (PEP)
- Implement internal controls to monitor financial transactions
- Define countries consider to be of high risk for money laundering and terrorism
- Report any suspicious transaction to the authorities
- Implement compliance standards
With this proposed law the Notary Public become agents of the government for the prevention of money laundering and financing of terrorism.
This proposal is part of the current government desire to comply with Financial Action Task Force. Recently Costa Rica approved a law to protect minority investors and a law against fiscal fraud which creates a mandatory government operated central stock registry all in an effort to improve their World Bank doing business rankings.
What do they do in the U.S. ?
In the United States the American Bar Association (ABA) has taken a strong position against these “gatekeeper legislation” protecting the legal community from under burden of excessive regulations which could erode the Attorney Client Privilege. We just hope they don’t go to far in Costa Rica.