The Unit of Financial Information and Analysis was created by the Board of Directors of the Central Bank of Uruguay by resolution dated 20/12/2000, and communicated by Circular No. 1722 of 21 December 2000, and since then performs Uruguay's Financial intelligence Unit functions.
Subsequently, Act No. 17.835 of September 23, 2004, Act No. 18.026 of 25 September 2006, Act No. 18.401 of October 24, 2008 and Act No. 18.494 of June 5, 2009 expanded the scope of its duties and powers as outlined below.
Duties and Powers of the Unit of Financial Information and Analysis
1) Receives and analyzes information
i) Receive, request, analyze and transmit to the Competent Court of Justice, when appropriate, information on financial transactions and other information deemed useful, in order to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing crimes under current regulations. There are two types of information received from regulated entities: systematic reporting of certain types of financial transactions to the Unit's database, and reporting of suspicious or unusual transactions.
ii) Ability to request reports, background information and any elements deemed useful for the fulfilment of its purposes, to all public bodies and regulated entities, even if they are not under the supervision of the Central Bank of Uruguay (art. 5 of Act No. 17.835).
iii) The possibility of freezing of funds. The Unit of Financial Information and Analysis, based on reasonable grounds, may instruct institutions subject to control by the Central Bank of Uruguay to prevent, for a period of up to 72 hours, carrying out suspicious transactions involving funds whose origin comes from money laundering and terrorist financing crimes (art. 6 of Act No. 17.835).
2) Scope of the Unit of Financial Information and Analysis
As explained in point number 1), the Unit's activity aims to combat and prevent money laundering and terrorist financing crimes under current regulations, according to the following definitions:
2.1) Predicate offenses of money laundering
In Uruguay, money laundering crimes apply when material objects are goods, products or instruments from crimes related to the following activities: drug trafficking and related crimes; crimes of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity; terrorism; terrorist financing; smuggling in excess of US$ 20,000; Illicit trafficking in arms, explosives, and munitions or any materials used for their production; organ, tissue and drug trafficking; smuggling and trafficking; human trafficking; extortion, kidnapping; procuring; Illicit trafficking in nuclear substances; Illicit trafficking in works of art, animals or toxic materials; fraud; misappropriation; crimes against the public administration included in Title IV of Book II of the Penal Code and those established in Act No. 17.060, of December 23, 1998 (public corruption offenses), fraudulent bankruptcy; fraudulent insolvency; the offense under Article 5 of Act No. 14.095 of November 17, 1972 (fraudulent corporate insolvency); offenses under Act No. 17.011 of 25 September 1998 and its amendments (trademark offenses); offenses under Act No. 17.616 of January 10, 2003 and its amendments (offenses against intellectual property); conduct under Act No. 17.815 of 6 September 2004, Articles 77 to 81 of Act No. 18.250 of 6 January 2008 and all unlawful conduct under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, trafficking or sexual exploitation of persons; counterfeiting and altering of currency provided for in Articles 227 and 228 of the Penal Code.
2.2) Terrorist financing
Article 16 of Act No. 17.835, as amended by Act No. 18.494 establishes the following definition: "Whoever organizes or, by any means, directly or indirectly, provides or collects funds for a terrorist organization or a member thereof or an individual terrorist, intended to be used or knowing that they will be used, in whole or in part in the criminal activities described in Article 14 of this law, regardless of their occurrence and even if they do not occur in national territory, shall be punished with a sentence of three to eighteen years imprisonment".
2.3) International cooperation
i) Requests for international cooperation in this field shall be processed through the competent bodies in each case, and in accordance with national law
ii) Ability to exchange relevant information, despite being protected by rules of confidentiality, with administrative authorities of other states that have similar powers and request on reasonable grounds.
The Unit of Financial Information and Analysis is part of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units, an international organization that promotes the exchange of information among its members.
2.4) Other (Regulation and Supervision, Training, etc.)
i)Propose the enactment of general rules or give specific instructions within the scope of its powers, aimed at regulated parties.
ii) Provide advice and cooperate with the Executive Power on training programs.