Updated: January 2024
It is the Company’s policy that the applicable statutory and regulatory obligations to prevent money laundering and funding of terrorism are to be met in full. The Company is committed to meeting, and where possible exceeding, such expectations. Positive management action will be exercised to minimize the risk of the Company’s services being abused for the purposes of laundering funds associated with criminal activity, as defined by the relevant legislations.
The Company’s approach is based upon the following legal frameworks:
- The International Framework: The Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”) is the globally recognized body for assessing AML/CFT standards. In particular, reference is made to the FATF’s guidance for a risk-based approach to virtual assets and virtual assets service providers.
- Malta’s Legislative Background: The Maltese legislation comprises of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (“PMLA”), the Prevention of Money Laundering and Funding of Terrorism Regulations (“PMLFTR”), the Criminal Code, the Implementing Procedures issued by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (“FIAU”) and the National Interest Enabling Powers Act.
Onboarding and Customer Due Diligence Measures
Customer Due Diligence Procedures must be completed before the signing of any agreement with a new customer. Furthermore, all Customer Due Diligence must be provided, and contracts are to be fully signed prior to any customer being permitted to enable their account and to use Payhound Services.
In accordance with the relevant legislations, Payhound will:
- Identify the purpose and intended nature of the business relationship
- Identify and verify the customer on the basis of documents or using sources deemed reliable
- Where it appears that a person is not acting on his own behalf, appropriate inquiries should be made to determine on whose behalf that person (the “agent”) is acting and additional customer due diligence measures must be carried out
- In certain other circumstances, which present a high risk of ML/FT, the Company must apply enhanced due diligence measures
The kind of information gathered will vary depending on the risk profile of the customer and the service identified through the customer risk assessment.
The Company is required to carry out ongoing monitoring with respect to customers with whom it has an ongoing business relationship. The scope of scrutiny of transactions is to:
- Identify behaviour or transactions which diverge from the usual pattern of transactions, do not fit within the customer’s profile, or are otherwise not in line with what is normally expected from the customer, and which therefore need to be questioned in further detail
- Identify suspicious activity in relation to which a STR is to be filed with the FIAU
- Determine whether the initial risk assessment requires updating, and whether, in view of the updated risk assessment or other considerations, the business relationship remains within the risk appetite of the subject person and, if so, understand whether the level of CDD needs to be adjusted in view of any changes from the initial risk understanding
Furthermore, Payhound shall conduct periodic reviews on the documents and data held on file to ensure that customer files are always kept up-to-date.
Country and Industry Restrictions
The Company has adopted policies designed on lists issued by the FATF, the European Union Commission Delegated Acts on High Risk Third Countries, and other organisations issuing guidelines and lists relating to the adequacy of legislative measures adopted by jurisdictions in relation to money laundering, funding of terrorism and transparency.
Payhound will not accept business from customers resident / incorporated in the countries listed under its ‘Prohibited Countries’ list. This prohibition also extends to target markets, whereby Payhound’s product is not made available in these countries. Enhanced due diligence and applicable controls shall be applied in the case of any customers who reside / are incorporated in the ‘High Risk Countries’ in accordance with its AML Policy.
If a customer is identified as operating in any of the industries defined as prohibited by Payhound, the Company shall not enter into a business relationship with them or seek to terminate the present ongoing relationship. Enhanced due diligence and applicable controls shall be applied in the case of any customers engaged in industries identified by the Company as ‘High Risk’.
The retention period for transaction records and customer documentation shall be in accordance with the applicable regulatory requirements.