Laundering Legislation

Attorneys-at-law are subject tot he preventive section of the laudering legislation, when they carry out certain tasks on behalf of their clients (Law of 11 January 1993 on prevention of the use of the financial system for money laundering and financing of terrorism – herinafter reffered to as “Laundering legislation”).

This is in particular the case if the tasks are related to missions that are considered by the legislator as sensible to money laundering. It concerns e.a. the assistance in the frame of transactions of real estate and enterprises, the  administration of assets and the constitution of a company or a contribution.

When it comes to the determination of your legal position, the preparation and the assistance in frame of disputes, the Laundering legislation is not applicable.

The Laundering legislation is aimed to combat laundering and the financing of terrorism and, with this objective, imposes some compelling obligations on attorneys-at-law, of which the non-compliance may lead to disciplinary sanctions and administrative fines.

These obligations are essentially the obligation to identify, the obligation of vigilance and as the case may be, the eventual obligtion to notify.

First, attorneys-at-law are obliged to identify new clients for the first time before the commencement of rendering services. Throughout the total duration of the client relationship, the attorney-at-law has an obligation of vigilance. In some cases, additional information can be requested. This obligation to identify and the obligation to vigilance does not only exist with regard to the clients themselves – physical persons or legal entities – but also with regard to their representatives, such as the directors of companies.

In case that in the frame of the execution of a task that is subject to the Laundering legislation, facts are discoverd of which it is known or suspected that they are related to money laundering or terrorist financing, it must reported to the Chairman of the Bar Association immediately. It is the Chairman who will decide whether the received information will be transeferred to the Financial Intelligence Processing Unit or not.

These obligations are, of course, without prejudice tot he professional confidentiality that continue to caracterise the relationship between the client and the attorney-at-law.