The Prevention of Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism Act (‘Wwft’) has created significant obligations for lawyers and other commercial service providers. The Wwft applies to lawyers’ duties insofar as they give advice or provide assistance in the following areas:
- tax law;
- purchase and/or sale of immovable property;
- fund management;
- establishing and/or managing legal entities;
- purchase and/or sale of enterprises;
- in the event that and insofar as a lawyer acts in the name of and at the expense of a client in any form of financial transaction or immovable property transaction.
Briefly stated, the obligations for lawyers arising from the Wwft are as follows:
- lawyers must ensure that clients provide proof of identity before the services commence; and
- lawyers must report all unusual money transactions.
re 1: Duty to provide proof of identity
Pursuant to the Wwft, our clients must provide proof of identity before the services commence:
- with respect to legal entities: the person representing the legal entity must provide proof of identity. We will make a photocopy of the valid ID, and will consult the Commercial Register of the Chamber of Commerce in order to verify the contact person’s authority;
- with respect to natural persons: you must personally provide proof of identity, following which we are obliged to make a photocopy of your valid ID.
We will ask you to furnish us with the above information on commencing our work.
re 2: Unusual transactions
Pursuant to the Wwft, we are obliged to report unusual financial transactions. Such transactions are:
- transactions in cheques or cash amounting to EUR 15,000 or over (or sums just under this limit); or
- transactions giving rise to the supposition that they may be connected with money laundering or the financing of terrorism.
You will find more information on this Act on the website below: