Nicaragua: amendments to financial and banking regulations
On August 24, 2021, the Nicaraguan Parliament approved amendments to the General Banking, NonBanking Financial Institutions and Financial Groups Law, particularly with respect to sanctions applicable to directors, managers, officers, employees and internal auditors of financial institutions that alter, distort data or background information in balance sheets, books, statements, accounts, correspondence or other documents, hide or prevent them from being known or destroyed, in order to hinder, divert or evade the control, supervision or inspection of the financial regulator.
Likewise, sanctions are modified and added with regards to risks of money laundering, financing of terrorism and financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, ML/FT/FP, contemplating both the increase of monetary sanctions for the aforementioned persons, as well as for the supervised institutions that incur in deficiencies or non-compliance with the legal, regulatory or normative provisions issued by the competent authority, as well as resolutions, guidelines or instructions of the Superintendent of Banks related to the prevention of ML/FT/FP.
Such sanctions are increased up to a maximum of US$500,000 or 0.15% of its assets, whichever is greater, in the case of banking institutions, without prejudice to criminal actions, as well as administrative actions that may be imposed by the Superintendent of Banks, including, but not limited to, temporary suspension of operations affected by deficiencies in prevention programs, up to the cancellation of the authorization to operate, separation of officers, etc.
The amendments approved also include the Law of the Superintendency of Banks and other Financial Institutions, granting its Directive Council the power to approve regulations to ensure the lawful origin of the capital of financial institutions and to prevent money laundering within the national financial system, and the Capital Markets Law, particularly the regime of fines and sanctions, specifically those related to the prevention of ML/FT/FP, including monetary sanctions for officials and employees of capital market institutions, as well as those applicable to such financial institutions up to a maximum of US$50,000, without prejudice to any criminal liability that may be incurred, and any other sanctions that may be imposed by the Superintendent of Banks.
The above referred amendments will come into force, once published in the Official Daily.