Money Laundering Prevention and identification requirement
When exercising certain activities, lawyers fall within the scope of the money-laundering law (Law of September 18, 2017 on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing). This legislation is intended to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism and, for this purpose, imposes a number of mandatory obligations on lawyers. The failure to comply with these obligations can lead to administrative fines and disciplinary penalties. Our firm therefore attaches great importance to ensuring that its lawyers comply with their obligations.
First of all, for certain activities, our lawyers are required to identify our clients and to request and retain a number of documents proving their identity. Our lawyers are also required to exercise constant vigilance in these activities. During the course of the client relationship they are therefore sometimes required to request additional information. This obligation of information and vigilance does not only extend to our clients (whether natural or legal persons), but also with respect to their agents, such as the directors of companies, and their beneficial owners ("UBOs").
When, in the exercise of the activities envisaged by the law, the lawyers observe facts which they know or suspect to be related to money laundering or terrorist financing, they must immediately report this to the President of the Bar. This is not the case if their activities serve to determine the legal position of their client or to defend or represent their client in (connection with) legal proceedings. The President of the Bar will decide whether or not to pass on the information received to the Financial Intelligence Processing Unit.
These obligations obviously do not affect the professional secrecy that continues to characterize the relationship between the client and his lawyer.