Prevention of money laundering

When assisting clients with certain services lawyers may be subject to the preventive section of the anti-money laundering legislation (Act of 11 January 1993 to prevent the use of the financial system to launder money and to finance terrorism). This legislation is aimed to counter money laundering and financing of terrorism and for that purpose it imposes a number of mandatory obligations on lawyers, which when not complied with can result in disciplinary penalties and administrative fines.

First of all, our lawyers are obliged to identify our customers and to request and store a number of documents as proof of identity. For the entire duration of the customer relationship, lawyers are also subjected to a duty of vigilance which may lead to a requirement for additional information. This requirement for information and vigilance not only exists in relation to our customers—both for individuals and legal entities—but also in relation to their representatives, such as company directors.

If attorneys, during the execution of the activities envisaged by law, establish facts which they know or suspect to be related to money laundering or the financing of terrorism, they must report this immediately to the dean of their Bar association, except in the event their work consists of determining the legal position of their client or defending or representing their client in (relation to) a legal trial. The dean of the Bar association will decide on whether the information received will be forwarded to the Financial Data Processing Unit of the Federal Government.

These obligations do not undermine the professional confidentiality that remains a characteristic of the relationship between the client and his/her lawyer.

If you would have any questions in this regard, feel free to address them in an email to: info@portelio.be