Uruguay: El Sistema De Prevención Y Control Del Lavado De Activos En Nuestro País

Last Updated: 22 April 2016
Article by María Cecilia Rivas

En los últimos años se ha reforzado la normativa referente tanto a la prevención y control del lavado de activos como de la financiación del terrorismo.

En los últimos días, han salido a la luz varios asuntos que han puesto nuevamente sobre el tapete el tema del control de lavado de activos y sus derivaciones. No está demás aclarar el concepto mismo del lavado de activos. En ese sentido nos estamos refiriendo a la adquisición, utilización, conversión, ocultación o transformación de bienes que proceden de actividades relacionadas con el tráfico de drogas y de otras actividades consideradas ilícitas (tales como la corrupción pública o el crimen organizado), o de participación en las mismas, para ocultar o encubrir su origen o ayudar a la persona que haya participado en la actividad ilícita a eludir las consecuencias jurídicas de sus actos.

Ya es conocido por todos que en los últimos años se ha ido incorporando normativa para mejorar el control en esta materia y adecuarse a requerimientos internacionales, lo que incluye la creación de organismos destinados a ejercer estos controles.

Legislación en la materia

La Ley número 17.835 que fue la que creó un sistema de Prevención y Control del Lavado de Activos, estableció la forma de proceder, qué información es la que se debe prestar y que uso se le puede dar. Lo mismo se establece para el delito de financiación del terrorismo. Las modificaciones efectuadas por leyes posteriores, incluyendo la última Ley de Presupuesto, no hicieron más que profundizar los controles y sujetos obligados.

Actualmente existe la obligación de informar a la Unidad de Información y Análisis Financiero (UIAF) del Banco Central (BCU), "las transacciones, realizadas o no, que (...) resulten inusuales, se presenten sin justificación económica o legal evidente o se planteen con una complejidad inusitada o injustificada". El elenco de operaciones que deben ser informadas también se ha ido incrementando, en una primera etapa sólo abarcaba a aquellas que habían sido llevadas a cabo, quedaban fuera aquellas que no se hubieran concretado. Asimismo se deben denunciar aquellas transacciones que pudieran estar vinculadas a personas físicas o jurídicas involucradas en actividades terroristas, aun cuando el origen de los activos fuera lícito.

Entre los sujetos obligados se encuentran: todas las personas físicas o jurídicas sometidas al control del BCU, las personas físicas o jurídicas que, en forma profesional, presente desde Uruguay asesoramiento en materia de inversiones, colocaciones y otros negocios financieros a clientes, cualquiera sea su residencia o nacionalidad, casinos¸ inmobiliarias, empresas constructoras y otros intermediarios en transacciones que involucren inmuebles, los escribanos, los rematadores, las personas físicas o jurídicas que a nombre o por cuenta de terceros realicen transacciones o administren en forma habitual sociedades comerciales, los explotadores y usuarios directos de zonas francas.

A través de las obligaciones que se le imponen a estos sujetos se busca obtener una adecuada identificación de los clientes, un profundo conocimiento de los mismos y de la naturaleza de sus negocios, sobre todo cuando se trata de operaciones de importancia, o de personas físicas que hayan sufrido un cambio sustancial en su forma de vida, o simplemente cuando se carece de información suficiente sobre ese cliente, entre otros casos.

El artículo 50 de la Ley 19.355 que sustituye el artículo 2 de la Ley 17.835 en la redacción dada por el artículo 1º de la Ley 18.494, establece que le corresponderá al Poder Ejecutivo reglamentar los requisitos que deberán cumplir los sujetos obligados "para el registro de transacciones, el mantenimiento de los respectivos asientos y la debida identificación de los clientes".

Sistema de control

En nuestro país son varias entidades que conforman el sistema nacional contra el lavado de activos (LA) y financiamiento de terrorismo (FT). Entre ellas podemos destacar las siguientes: la Comisión Coordinadora contra el LA y el FT, el Banco Central del Uruguay, el Ministerio de Economía y Finanzas, el Ministerio del Interior, y la recientemente creada Secretaría Nacional para la Lucha contra el Lavado de Activo y el Financiamiento del Terrorismo, entre otras, que vino a suplantar la Secretaría Nacional Antilavado de Activos (en adelante SNAA) creada en el 2009.

En la última Ley de Presupuesto, la ya mencionada 19.355, se creó la Secretaría Nacional para la Lucha contra el Lavado de Activos y el Financiamiento del Terrorismo. Este organismo tiene autonomía técnica y depende directamente de la Presidencia de le República.

Este nuevo organismo no sólo cumplirá las funciones que tenía su antecesora (SNAA) sino que también tendrá los siguientes cometidos:

  • Coordinar la ejecución de las políticas nacionales en materia de lavado de activos y financiamiento del terrorismo.
  • Coordinar y ejecutar los programas de capacitación definidos por la Comisión Coordinadora contra el LA y FT destinados a: a) Personal de las entidades bancarias públicas y privadas, b) Los operadores del derecho, tales como Jueces, Actuarios, Fiscales, entre otros; c) Los funcionarios de los Ministerios del Interior, de Defensa Nacional, de Economía y Finanzas;
  • Controlar el cumplimiento de las normas de prevención de LA y FT por parte de los sujetos obligados ya mencionados, disponiendo de las más amplias facultades de investigación y fiscalización, pudiendo exigir la exhibición de todo tipo de documentos (propios y ajenos), realizar inspecciones en bienes muebles o inmuebles.

En cuanto a esta facultad, conviene hacer algunas precisiones, la primera es que se requerirá previa orden judicial para inspeccionar domicilios particulares. En segundo lugar corresponde aclarar que se tomará "como domicilio válido del sujeto obligado el constituido por el mismo ante la Dirección General Impositiva. En caso de sujetos obligados no inscriptos en la Dirección General Impositiva se estará al domicilio que se proporcione por la Jefatura de Policía Departamental que corresponda".

  • Suscribir convenios para el cumplimiento de sus cometidos, tanto con entidades nacionales como internacionales, previa conformidad de la Presidencia de la República.

En estos últimos días se ha podido apreciar la puesta en funcionamiento de alguno de estos mecanismos de control tanto por el Banco Central del Uruguay, a través de su Unidad de Información y Análisis Financieros, así como por la Dirección General Impositiva y la Secretaría Nacional mencionada anteriormente.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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