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The AMLA For You And For Me

Investigation and prosecution against advocates & solicitors under the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (“AMLA”) is growing by the day.  Charges and punishments under AMLA for money laundering can be invoked based on predicate offences like a breach of trust, embezzlement, cheat, fraud, theft or conversion.

What can we do to better ourselves and to stay afloat in our legal careers?

AMLA’ - Alert, Meticulous, Legal, Action

In our day-to-day practice, particularly with fresh and unfamiliar clients, stay alert at all times.  
Be meticulous in the due diligence exercise on client and risk assessment.  Merely knowing the client is a non-starter in light of the Bank Negara Malaysia (“BNM”) impending strict enforcement on us as the reporting institutions.  Go further with triple level of verification on identities, purpose and source of finance, and modus operandi.  
Stay legal at all times, at every juncture.
Never hesitate to take action to refer to BNM by way of suspicious transaction report ("STR") when an instruction, due diligence or activity raises the red flag.

When in doubt seek guidance from the Bar Council’s newly minted AMLA Committee.
AMLA’ - Actively Manage Legal Activities

It is very unsavoury to conduct complete due diligence on our clients - either they are offended, uncomfortable or not so cooperative, and we may end up losing them to other lawyers who are willing to take on the work without much queries.  Dog eat dog world?  Burp! But to stay safe and secure we must conduct the due diligence and not throw caution to wind.  As compliance officers we must actively manage legal activities and don’t allow client to abuse, dilute or hoodwink us. Never miss a step, and don’t be misled.

AMLA’ - All Monies Love Associates
Yes, all monies love associates.  But you and I have a choice of association – to be complicit, aid and abet in black money and blood money, or to sow, grow, and harvest legal money and to live, love, and play within legal parameters.  We are what we choose!
AMLA’ – Another Member Licked Asphalt

I can hear at the distance the sound of a BNM carpenter preparing the next professional coffin for a lawyer.  Another member licked asphalt?  What a “grave” practice he must have had!