On February 15 2011 the Unit for Financial Information (UFI) published Resolution 39/2011 in the Official Gazette. The new resolution - which regulates Law 25246 through Regulatory Decree 290/07 - establishes the measures and procedures that all registered importers, exporters and customs transport agents must observe in relation with the prevention of money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Within the scope of the new regulation, registered persons or corporations must carry a Prevention Policy that demonstrates the implementation of a proceedings manual, the training of personnel in the identification of suspicious activities and the creation of a registry related to any suspected risky operation.

In addition, if the eligible subject is a corporation, it must choose a compliance officer from the members of its board of directors. This individual, who must be registered at the UFI, will be responsible for compliance and implementation of the proceedings manual and for communicating any suspicious activity to the regulatory body. In the case of a foreign corporation doing business in Argentina, its legal representative must hold the position of compliance officer.

Finally, among other obligations, every eligible subject must implement a client knowledge policy. In order to comply with this policy, a file must be created for every client, which includes contact information (eg, name, place of birth, nationality, sex, identification number and occupation) and a sworn statement declaring the legality of the funds used to purchase goods or services.

If the client is a company, alongside the contact details and sworn statement, the file must include:

  • a certified copy of the articles of association;
  • a certified copy of the designation of the members of the board of directors and their contact details or a certified copy of the power of attorney of the representative involved and his or her contact details; and
  • a certified copy of the firm's financial statements for the last fiscal year.

The persons or corporations that fall under the obligations of the new resolution must create a transactional profile of every client that holds this sensitive information, in order to track his or her operations and identify suspicious activity - namely, that which does not fit with the profile.

Even though Resolution 39/2011 gives some guidelines for compliance with its contents, it is left to the judgement of the actors involved in daily operations to determine whether an activity is considered suspicious. The system is subjective and the persons obligated to comply with the resolution may not have the capacity to identify when a crime such as money laundering or financing of terrorism is occurring.

The UFI recently issued Resolution 55/2011, which postpones the application of Resolution 39/2011 for 180 days, to allow the Argentine Congress time to discuss it further.

For further information on this topic please contact Elizabeth Mireya Freidenberg at Freidenberg Freidenberg & Lifsic by telephone (+54 11 4311 4991), fax (+54 11 4311 0852) or email ([email protected]).