The system of combating money laundering and terrorist financing
The Polish system of counteracting money laundering and the financing of terrorism (hereinafter referred to as the AML/CFT system) is shaped primarily by both national and European Union (EU) legal regulations. The basic legal act in this area is the Act of March 1, 2018 on Counteracting Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (OJ 2020, item 971 with amendments), hereinafter referred to as the Act. It identifies the authorities and bodies operating within the system and indicates their responsibilities and powers.
At the heart of the national system of counteracting money laundering and the financing of terrorism is the General Inspector of Financial Information (the GIFI). According to the Act, the GIFI is appointed and dismissed by the Prime Minister at the request of the minister competent or financial institutions after consulting the minister - member of the Council of Ministers in charge of coordinating the activities of secret service (if appointed by the Prime Minister). Pursuant to the Act, the GIFI is ranked as a secretary or an undersecretary of state in the Ministry of Finance.
The GIFI is supported in realization of the statutory tasks by the Department of Financial Information of the Ministry of Finance, which acts as the Polish Financial Intelligence Unit (PFIU).
"Financial intelligence unit (hereinafter referred to as "FIU") means a central, national agency responsible for receiving (and, as permitted, requesting), analysing and disseminating to the competent authorities, disclosures of financial information:
- concerning suspected proceeds and potential financing of terrorism, or
- required by national legislation or regulation, in order to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism."
In accordance with Article 1 letter f) of the Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism (OJ 2008, No. 165 item 1028)
The system of combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism in Poland consists of:
- the GIFI,
- obligated institutions (financial and non-financial institutions, which offer services or products that can be abused for money laundering or terrorist financing. The list of obliged institutions is included in art. 2 item 1 of the Act),
- cooperating units (central administration, local government authorities and other state organizational units, also the National Bank of Poland, the Commission for Banking Supervision and Supreme Chamber of Control – Article 2 item 2 point 8 of the Act).
The Act lays down several duties of the GIFI, obliged institutions and cooperating institutions, in particular in cooperation and exchange of information. Some of them are indicated below.
Primarily, obligated institutions shall identify and assess the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing related to their business relations with customers or to their occasional transactions. On the basis of that risk and its assessment, they shall apply customer due diligence measures designed primarily to obtain information on their clients and the purpose for which they use the services and products offered by the obligated institutions.
The obligated institutions shall inform the GIFI about the facts which may indicate money laundering or terrorist financing, and reasonable suspicions that a transaction or assets may be related to the aforementioned crimes.
Moreover, the obliged institutions notify the GIFI of information on the so-called above threshold transactions - transactions, whose value exceeds EUR 15,000 and which are:
- cash payments or withdrawals (cash transactions),
- transfers of funds (including international transfer to a recipient, whose payment service provider is an obliged institution), with the exclusion of certain exceptions specified in the Act,
- purchase or sale of foreign currency,
- notarial acts, specified in the AML/CFT law.
At the request of the GIFI, the obliged institutions shall block accounts and withhold transactions, and shall provide the GIFI with information and documents concerning the case. They also block accounts and withhold transactions on the basis of a decision of a prosecutor.
In order to counter terrorism and terrorist financing, obliged institutions apply specific restrictive measures against persons and entities indicated in the lists published in the Public Information Bulletin on the website of the minister in charge of public finances (the Ministry of Finance website).
The obliged institutions are controlled by the GIFI with respect to fulfilling their duties in the area of counteracting money laundering and terrorist financing. Within the scope of their competence, obliged institutions are also controlled on the basis of separate regulations by:
- the President of the National Bank of Poland (in relation to entities conducting business activity as currency exchange offices),
- the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (in relation to the supervised institutions),
- The National Cooperative Savings and Credit Union (in relation to credit unions),
- presidents of courts of appeal (in relation to notaries),
- heads of customs and tax offices (in relation to all obliged institutions);
- Voivodes or governors of district (in relation to associations).
The obliged institutions and cooperating institutions shall immediately notify the GIFI of any suspicion of money laundering or terrorist financing. Furthermore, they shall provide or make accessible the information or documents on the request of the GIFI. The Border Guard and the heads of customs and tax offices provide the GIFI with information on the declarations of cash transportation across the EU border.
The GIFI verifies suspicions of money laundering or terrorist financing contained in reports on the basis of information obtained from the obliged institutions, cooperating institutions, as well as foreign FIUs. In the case of a well-founded suspicion, the GIFI shall notify the prosecutor, who take steps to prosecute the suspects in cooperation with the law enforcement authorities.
After receiving the notification, the prosecutor is obliged to inform the GIFI about:
- issuing a decision on blocking the account or suspending transactions;
- suspending proceedings;
- initiating a previously suspended proceeding;
- issuing a decision on presenting charges.
Moreover, prosecutors are obliged to provide the GIFI with information on the issuance of the decision on the following matters:
- blocking the account or suspending transactions,
- initiating proceedings,
- presenting charges,
- presenting a bill of indictment,
in other cases concerning money laundering or terrorist financing.
The GIFI provides courts and prosecutors, upon a written request, with information or documents for the purposes of criminal proceedings. Moreover, the GIFI provides information on written and justified request of other cooperating entities indicated in the Act (in particular law enforcement authorities), within the scope of their statutory tasks.
In the case of suspecting that an offence or fiscal offence, other than money laundering or terrorist financing, has been committed, the GIFI shall forward the information justifying the suspicion to the relevant competent authorities (i.e. law enforcement authorities, secret service and the Head of The National Revenue Administration), that take measures in accordance with their statutory tasks. Additionally, if the GIFI has a justified suspicion of the infringement of provisions related to the functioning of the financial market, the GIFI shall provide the Polish Financial Supervision Authority with the information justifying the suspicion.
Due to the international dimension of money laundering and terrorist financing offences, the GIFI exchanges information with foreign FIUs.
Upon a justified request from a foreign FIU, the GIFI may authorise the transmission of the information to other authorities or foreign FIUs, or the use of the information for purposes other than those of the FIU’s tasks. Similarly, the GIFI may also request the consent of a foreign FIU to transmit the information received from it to the courts, prosecutors and other cooperating entities, other foreign FIUs, or to use such information for purposes other than for the fulfilling its tasks.
In addition, the GIFI may require the suspension of a transaction or the blocking of an account upon a justified request by a foreign FIU "that provided grounds for suspecting that money laundering or terrorist financing has been committed".
Furthermore, in order to improve the quality of the system and create new solutions, the GIFI and its representatives participate in the work of international organisations and institutions operating in the area of counteracting money laundering and terrorist financing (links to the organisation's websites open in new windows, on other websites):
- The European Union:
- The European Commission: The Expert Group on Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (EGMLTF), The EU FIUs Platform, The FIU.NET Advisory Group
- The Council of the European Union
- The Council of Europe:
- The Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (MONEYVAL Committee) (http://www.coe.int/en/web/moneyval/home)
- Conference of the Parties (COP) (https://www.coe.int/en/web/cop198/home)
- The Egmont Group (https://www.egmontgroup.org)
- The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) (http://www.fatf-gafi.org/)
- The Eurasian Group (EAG) (https://eurasiangroup.org/en)
- The Counter-ISIL Finance Group
The General Inspector of Financial Information: Piotr Dziedzic
Director of Department: Marcin Stec
Deputy Director: Tomasz Skwarski
Deputy Director: Artur Kołaczek
ul. Świętokrzyska 12
00 - 916 Warszawa
tel. +48 22 694 30 60
fax. +48 22 694 54 50
- Last updated on:
- 03.08.2020 13:43 Michał Dziwota
- First published on:
- 18.06.2019 08:39 Marta Dyras