Lawyers, when they carry out certain tasks on behalf of their clients, fall under the preventive section of the laundering legislation (Law of 11 January 1993 on prevention of the use of the financial system for money laundering and financing of terrorism) as from 2 January 2004. This legislation is aimed to combat laundering and the financing of terrorism and, with this objective, imposes some compelling obligations to lawyers, of which the non-compliance may lead to disciplinary sanctions and administrative fines.

The client investigation, vigilance obligation and the eventual notification obligation form the core of the laundering prevention legislation.

Lawyers 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 lawyers will also be subject to a vigilance obligation, which could cause additional information being required. This information and vigilance obligation does not only exist with regard to the clients themselves - natural and legal entities - but also with regards to their representatives, such as the directors of companies.

When executing work, envisaged by law, facts have been determined of which it is known or suspected that they related to money laundering or terrorist financing, it must be reported to the Chairman of the Bar Association immediately, except when the work serves to determine the legal status of the client or the defence or representation of the client in connection with litigation. It is the Chairman who will make the decision whether the received information will be transferred to the Financial Intelligence Processing Unit or not.  

These obligations are, of course, without prejudice to the professional confidentiality that characterises the relationship between the client and his lawyer.

Should you have any questions in this regard, you can contact us by e-mail: