Bank Indonesia, the central bank, warns unlicensed money changers to acquire permits by April 7 or face prosecution. (ID Photo/David Gita Roza)

Get Permits or Face Prosecution, Bank Indonesia Tells Money Changers

BY :TABITA DIELA

FEBRUARY 01, 2017

Jakarta. Bank Indonesia, the central bank, warns unlicensed money changers to acquire permits by April 7 or face prosecution.

The warning came as the central bank seeks to intensify its efforts to prevent money laundering by unlicensed money changers across the country.

"We will focus on persuading those who do not have the permits to obtain them, because their services can potentially be used for crime," the central bank's head of payment system policy and oversight department, Eni V. Panggabean, told Jakarta Globe on Tuesday (31/01).

National Narcotics Agency, or BNN, unveiled earlier this week that six money changers — four of which were unauthorized — in Jakarta, Medan and Batam, had allegedly collected money from drug dealers, said Brig. Gen. Rokhmad Sunanto of the BNN, as quoted by Antaranews.com.

The central bank will work closely with the National Police, Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK) and BNN to crack down on such enterprises.

Under the bank's regulation issued on Oct. 7, all money changers must obtain licenses by April 7, otherwise the bank will report them to the police with a recommendation to close down their businesses.

There are 1,064 licensed nonbank money changers in the country. According to Bank Indonesia, there also 612 unlicensed ones, which often operate as gold shops or even household appliances shops.

Although permits are issued free of charge, many business owners are unable to meet the central bank's requirements, which in turn poses a risk to their customers, who are not eligible to obtain Bank Indonesia's standard consumer protection.

"For example, [a money changer] may not be a legal entity. To become one, it needs to have a capital of at least Rp 250 million [$18,700] and its executives must have at least a diploma degree," Eni said.

"These requirements are meant to protect the consumers. If you really want to run a money changer, you need to have a license," she added.

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