High Value Goods Dealers (HVGDs) are businesses involved in high value sales where they accept cash payments of €15,000 or more for goods. This can be in one transaction or a series of linked transactions. Examples of these businesses include antique dealers, boat and car sales, dealers in precious stones, jewellers, etc.
The Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010 (as amended) places legal obligations on HVGDs to guard against them being used for money laundering or terrorist financing purposes. Be aware that as a HVGD your business could be used to off-load cash for the purpose of concealing proceeds of criminal activity or for the purpose of evading tax. Under the Act, a HVGD is referred to as a "designated person". A ‘designated person’ must guard against their business being used for money laundering or terrorist financing purposes.
What you need to do:
- You must apply Customer Due Diligence (CDD) to all cash transactions of €15,000 or more in a single transaction or a series of linked transactions.
Prior to carrying out a transaction you must get:
- a copy of the customer’s photo I.D. (i.e. a passport or driving licence) and
- a recent utility bill in the name of the customer.
You must keep these documents on file with the Sales Order for inspection by an Authorised Officer of the Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Unit (AMLCU).
- You must show the method of payment (e.g. cash, cheque, EFT, etc.) on all your transactions. You could note this in an extra column in your Sales Transaction/Cash Book as well as recording it on the original invoice.
- For each transaction (especially those of €15,000 or more) you should complete the cash transaction form designed by the AMLCU.
- All documentation relating to transactions must be retained for a period of 5 years.
- You must keep an anti-money laundering (AML) file containing information on money laundering e.g. policies, guides, correspondence, etc.
- It is recommended that you display, in a prominent position, a policy statement on money laundering.
- If you have 4 or more staff employed in the business there should be a document on your AML file which has been signed by all staff to confirm that they have received AML training.
- If you consider a transaction to be suspicious you must report it, using the Suspicious Transactions Report form, to An Garda Síochána and to the Revenue Commissioners.
It is important to note that the failure of a ‘designated person’ to comply with the obligations contained in the Act is an offence and a person if convicted is liable to a fine or imprisonment or both.
- Should you have any knowledge, suspicion or reasonable grounds for suspicion, on the basis of information obtained through business activities, that another person is engaging in money laundering or terrorist financing you are required to report your knowledge or suspicions to An Garda Síochána and the Revenue Commissioners using a ‘Suspicious Transactions Report form’ (STR) form.
- Where you submit a STR form you should note that it is an offence to make any disclosure ‘that is likely to prejudice an investigation’ to anyone other than An Garda Síochána and the Revenue Commissioners’.
- If you fail to comply with your obligations under the Act you are committing an offence and you are liable.
- on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding €5,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months (or both), or
- on conviction on indictment, to a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 (or in certain circumstances 14) years (or both).