Brussels, 5 December 2005
Internal Market: lawyers and notaries invited to give their views on anti-money laundering obligations
The European Commission has published an online questionnaire on how individual legal professionals and law firms apply anti-money laundering obligations. The information gathered will be used for the preparation of a report on implementation of the second anti-money laundering Directive to be submitted to the European Parliament and the Council in 2006. Direct involvement of individual legal professionals and law firms in the preparation of the report is a prerequisite to ensuring that it properly reflects their practical experience and the potential difficulties they encounter in fulfilling their obligations. Respondents are invited to give their views on questions related to the effectiveness of the reporting obligation, compliance costs and the impact of the Directive on the demand for legal services, among others. The questionnaire can be filled in anonymously.
Internal Market and Services Commissioner Charlie McCreevy said: "We want to know how lawyers and notaries deal with the new requirements on money laundering. We are interested to hear more about any difficulties they face when applying these obligations and about any related impact on their business. I encourage legal professionals with direct involvement in the area to reply. Your views are important to us."
The second money laundering Directive extended anti-money laundering obligations to independent legal professionals, as non-financial businesses are increasingly used for money laundering.
Those legal professionals subject to the Directive are required to cooperate in combating money laundering by taking various measures to establish customers' identities and report suspicions. These rules have been operational in most Member States for a substantial period of time and lawyers have become familiar with the new obligations.
This consultation is part of a large-scale information gathering exercise on
the specific treatment of lawyers with regard to anti-money laundering
obligations in different Member States. National governments and European
organisations of legal professionals have also been asked to provide the
Commission with information in this field.