CENTRAL BANK OF CYPRUS

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1 CENTRAL BANK OF CYPRUS DIRECTIVE FOR THE REGULATION OF MONEY TRANSFER SERVICES (Unofficial translation by the Central Bank of Cyprus) (P.I. 659/2003) FINANCIAL MARKETS AND PUBLIC DEBT MANAGEMENT DIVISION AUGUST 2003

2 O.G. App.???(?) P.I. 659/2003 No. 3744, Number 659 CENTRAL BANK OF CYPRUS DIRECTIVE FOR THE REGULATION OF THE PROVISION OF MONEY TRANSFER SERVICES (Unofficial translation by the Central Bank of Cyprus) THE CENTRAL BANK OF CYPRUS LAW 2002 Directive by virtue of article 48 The Central Bank of Cyprus by virtue of the powers vested in it under section (2) of article 48 of the Central Bank of Cyprus Law of 2002, hereby issues this Directive, which concerns the provision of money transfer services in the Republic. PART I INTERPRETATION Interpretation. 1. In this Directive unless the context otherwise requires: applicant means a legal person who submits an application for the acquisition of a licence to provide money transfer services; authorised agent means a person who, according to the provisions of this Directive, has been authorised by a licensee to operate a business engaged in the provision of money transfer services on behalf of the licensee; Central Bank means the Central Bank of Cyprus; 2

3 credit institution means an undertaking whose business is to receive deposits or other repayable funds from the public and to grant credits for its own account; directive for Cross Border Credit Transfers means the Directive of the Central Bank currently in force which was issued for the implementation of European Directive 97/5/EC regarding transfers between residents of Cyprus and residents of EU member states; legal person includes a company or any association of persons incorporated either in or outside the Republic; licensee means a legal person who holds a licence to provide money transfer services; money transfer service means the operation of a business whose activities consist of the acceptance of money, exclusively for their speedy transfer from and to the Republic by any means; qualifying holding means the direct or indirect holding in an undertaking which represents 10% or more of the capital or of the voting rights or which makes it possible to exercise a significant influence over the management of the undertaking; Republic means the Republic of Cyprus. PART II TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR THE OPERATION OF A BUSINESS ENGAGED IN THE PROVISION OF MONEY TRANSFER SERVICES Licence 2.(1)The Central Bank may grant licences to legal persons for the 3

4 establishment and operation of a business to provide money transfer services from and to the Republic, provided that: (a) they have or, based on their business plan, will be in a position to have on the commencement of their operations, and undertake to maintain during the entire duration of their operations, the minimum required capital as stipulated in this Directive; (b) they employ at least two experienced and trustworthy individuals who will manage the business and who are trustworthy, experienced, professionally competent, and of sound character and ethics. The Central Bank will also judge the suitability of the individuals with a qualifying holding in the business; (c) they have or, based on their business plan, will be in a position to have the required organisation, the financial and technical means as well as the appropriate staff, effective internal control mechanisms and the appropriate accounting system for recording transactions; (d) they apply the appropriate procedures for the prevention of money laundering activities. (2) The Central Bank may elaborate and specify further the criteria of section (1) and regulate procedural matters relating to the granting and entry into force of the licence. The Central Bank may also impose rules of internal organisation and operation, which businesses engaged in money transfer services would be required to adhere to for the duration of their operations. It is understood that those businesses already engaged in money 4

5 transfer services from and to the Republic on the date of entry into force of this Directive, must submit an application within four months from this date in order to acquire a licence under its provisions. Location of operation and provision of services through agents. 3. A business which has been granted a licence for the provision of money transfer services may provide its services from one or more locations which belong, directly or indirectly, to the licensee, or through authorised agents or both. Net capital. 4. (1) Every licensee shall have on commencement and throughout the duration of its operations a net capital of at least CY The aforementioned capital covers the establishment of up to five service units and/or authorised agents. For each additional unit and/or authorised agent an increase of capital by CY is required. (2) In the event that a licensee does not comply with the provisions of section (1), the Central Bank may either revoke the licence or set the licensee a grace period of up to two months for the increase of its capital after the lapse of which the Central Bank will proceed with the revocation of the licence. Submission of application. PART III SUBMISSION OF AN APPLICATION 5.(1)Applications for the granting of a licence to a business intending to provide money transfer services from and to the Republic must be submitted in writing and in the form designated by the Central Bank. Contents of application. (2) Each application shall contain: 5

6 (a) the name of the applicant and the address of the undertaking s registered office; (b) a history of the applicant s current activities and a description of the activities which the applicant has applied for; (c) a copy of the contract which will govern the business relationship between the applicant and the legal person, which authorises the applicant to act on its behalf; (d) a list of the applicant s proposed authorised agents; (e) a copy of the contract which will govern the business relationship between the applicant and its authorised agents; (f) the address of each location in the Republic from where the applicant or its authorised agents, if any, intend to provide money transfer services; (g) a letter of guarantee for the sum of CY from a credit institution which operates in the Republic in order to cover up to five service units and/or authorised agents. For each additional unit and/or authorised agent the letter of guarantee must be increased by CY The letter of guarantee should be in a form satisfactory to the Central Bank, which should be issued for the benefit of customers of the licensee that may seek compensation, in order to secure the good performance of the licensee s obligations with respect to receipt, handling, transfer and payment of money in connection with the money transfer services; 6

7 (h) a plan containing rules for internal controls; (i) a plan containing rules prepared in accordance with acceptable and feasible procedures for the prevention of money laundering activities in accordance 61(I) of (I) of (I) of (I) of (I) of with the provisions of the Prevention and Suppression of Money Laundering Activities Laws of (j) a description of the undertaking s computerised system and electronic equipment; (k) the names of the individuals with qualifying holding and, in the case of a company, the number of shares which they hold directly or indirectly; (l) a copy of the criminal record, if any, and a solvency certificate of the managers of the business, the authorised agents and the individuals with a qualifying holding in the undertaking s capital as well as the replies to the Appendix. questionnaire set out in the Appendix of this Directive; (m) the company s memorandum and articles of association; (n) a description of the legal person s company structure; (o) copies of the applicant s three most recent audited financial statements and, in the case of a parent company, copies of both the company s and the group s three most recent audited financial statements. 7

8 Submission of additional information. (3) The Central Bank may specify further the information and documents to be submitted by the applicant under section (2) and request the submission of additional information. Consideration of application. (4) The Central Bank shall, within three months from the date of submission of a duly completed application for the granting of a licence to provide money transfer services, decide as to whether or not it will grant a licence. Criteria for rejection of application. (5) Should the application for the granting of a licence to provide money transfer services be rejected, the decision must be sufficiently justified and based on one or more of the following criteria: (a) the applicant does not satisfy the criteria set out by the Central Bank; (b) the applicant or the individuals with qualifying holding have been convicted of a criminal offence, the primary reason of which is fraud; (c) the applicant or the individuals with qualifying holding have been involved in fraudulent, illicit or illegal practices. PART IV OBLIGATIONS OF LICENSEES Continuous obligations of the licensees. 6. Every licensee is obliged to meet, throughout the duration of its operations, all the terms and conditions of this Directive on which the issue of the licence was based. Notification of altered information. 7.(1) Any intended alteration in the information and documents 8

9 submitted to the Central Bank for the issue of a licence should be notified to the Central Bank at least ten days before the alteration takes place. (2) In the case that the Central Bank considers that the proposed alterations are likely to affect the undertaking s managerial integrity or its organisation and, in general, the smooth operation of the undertaking, it will, with a duly documented decision, prohibit the proposed alterations or it may allow them subject to conditions. List of shareholders with qualifying holding. 8. Every licensee is obliged to submit to the Central Bank at the end of each financial year, or at any other time requested, a list of the shareholders who hold 10% or more of the share capital. Transfer of shares. 9. A transfer of shares which results in a qualifying holding for the transferee in the business will require the prior approval of the Central Bank. Changes in the management of the business. 10. Any changes in the undertaking s management as well as changes in the Board of Directors shall be notified to the Central Bank. 61(I) of (I) of (I) of (I) of (I) of Every licensee is obliged to take all necessary measures for the effective prevention of money laundering as provided for in the Prevention and Suppression of Money Laundering Activities Laws of and any other laws which amend or replace them. These measures shall include the continuous training of the undertaking s staff so that they are able to recognise transactions which might be related to money laundering, as well as instructions as to what action they should take in such circumstances. 9

10 Furthermore, every licensee shall establish effective internal control and communication procedures for the prevention of activities associated with money laundering. Notification of changes in the service units. 12. Every licensee shall notify the Central Bank of the opening of a new or the closing of an existing unit. Transaction documents. 13. Documents pertaining to the transactions should be kept by each licensee and should be available to the Central Bank for examination. Examination costs. 14. The Central Bank may decide that the examination costs of the licensees shall be borne by the licensees. Cross Border Credit Transfers. 15. Every licensee is obliged to implement, mutatis mutandis, the provisions of the Directive for Cross Border Credit Transfers currently in force: It is understood that for the purposes of article 15 the term Institution referred to in the aforementioned Directive is extended so as to include businesses providing money transfer services. PART V REVOCATION OF A LICENCE Revocation of a licence. 16.(1) The Central Bank may revoke a licence if: (a) the licensee has failed to exercise the activities of money transfer services within twelve months from the date of the licence s issue; 10

11 (b) the licensee submits in writing a request for the revocation of its licence; (c) the licensee has ceased to provide money transfer services and a period of three months has elapsed since the activities ceased; (d) it has been ascertained that the licensee obtained the licence on the basis of false or misleading information or by other irregular means, or the licensee does not comply with or systematically violates the conditions of the licence; (e) the licensee no longer satisfies the required conditions for the granting of a licence; (f) the licensee has: (i) in the case of a partnership, been dissolved due to death or bankruptcy of any of the partners or, else, under the General and Limited Partnerships and Business Names Law; (ii) in the case of a company, the process of its winding up or liquidation has commenced. 138(I) of (I) of (I) of (I) of (I) of (I) of (g) the licensee or the managerial staff of the licensee or the individuals with a qualifying holding have been convicted of an offence by virtue of any of the provisions of the Central Bank of Cyprus Law of 2002, or an offence under the Prevention and Suppression of Money Laundering Activities Laws of , or an offence involving fraud. (2) In the event of revocation of the licensee s licence, the 11

12 licensee shall immediately cease to provide money transfer services. PART VI EXAMINATION OF LICENSEES AND SUBMISSION OF INFORMATION Examination of licensees. 17.(1) The Central Bank may conduct examinations of the licensee, after having given reasonable notice in advance, at the undertaking s headquarters or any other location from where the licensee or its authorised agents provide money transfer services. (2) The Central Bank may undertake examinations of the licensee or any of its authorised agents without any prior notice, if the Central Bank reasonably believes that the licensee or his authorised agents are contravening the provisions of this Directive. Submission of information. 18.(1) Every licensee is obliged to submit to the Central Bank an annual report for every financial year which has been audited by independent authorised auditors, as well as a six monthly report for the first six months of every financial year. (2) The reports referred to in section (1) shall be submitted to the Central Bank within: (a) six months for the annual report; and (b) three months for the six monthly report, from the end of the period to which they refer. (3) The format of the reports is specified by the Central Bank and, particularly in relation to the annual report, it includes a 12

13 detailed balance sheet, trading and profit and loss account and a cash flow statement which are prepared in accordance with international accounting standards and the auditor s report. (4) The Central Bank may ask any licensee to submit periodically, or at any time requested, any other information within a specified deadline designated by the Central Bank. PART VII AUTHORISED AGENTS Authorisation of agents. 19. Licensees wishing to operate a business for the provision of money transfer services through authorised agents shall authorise each agent to operate on the basis of a written contract which shall stipulate that: (a) the licensee appoints a person as its agent with the authority to provide money transfer services on behalf of the licensee; (b) the agents authorised by the licensee cannot appoint subagents; (c) the licensee s authorised agents are subject to Central Bank examination. Cap of PART VIII VARIOUS PROVISIONS 20. The provisions of the Exchange Control Law will remain in force until they are either revoked or replaced. Entry into force. 21. This Directive comes into force on 1 September

14 APPENDIX (Article 5(2) (l)) PERSONAL QUESTIONNAIRE IN RELATION TO THE APPLICATION SUBMITTED BY.....ON FOR A LICENCE TO PROVIDE MONEY TRANSFER SERVICES (This questionnaire should be completed by the management of the enterprise and by individuals with qualifying holding) PERSONAL DETAILS 1. Name: Status: 2. Date and place of birth: 3. Nationality: 4. Residential address: 5. Professional and/or academic qualifications: 6. Brief description of duties: 7. Names of other legal persons in the management of which he/she participates: 8. Previous employment: 9. Names and addresses of referees: 14

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