Anti-money laundering for liberal professions

Lawyers, notaries, patent attorneys, chamber counsel, auditors or tax consultants often depend on compliance service providers in order to adhere to the regulations. According to the Money Laundering Act, this group is classified as " liberal professions". These professions are exposed to money laundering risks where large sums of funds are invested - for example, when selling a house or even a company.

Obligated persons from the liberal professions must identify improper motives among clients. The Money Laundering Act even overrides the duty of confidentiality in certain cases.

Kerberos Compliance supports you in the fast, digital and cost-effective implementation as well as compliance with your obligations.

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Appoint an external money laundering officer via Kerberos or get certified yourself.

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Obtain cost-effective and legally compliant risk analyses that are also regularly reviewed.

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For liberal professionals such as lawyers, notaries and tax consultants, we offer a 360° AML-compliance service in accordance with the Money Laundering Act using standardised procedures. Client identification (KYC) and documentation, for example, can be easily outsourced to Kerberos for faster execution of notarisations. Whether enhanced due diligence requirements must first be fulfilled by international clients, legal entities or natural persons is determined in this process as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. In such cases, Kerberos can also perform all further necessary steps.  

Appointing your own money laundering officers can be a challenge, especially for smaller law companies. Money laundering officers are subject to special protection against dismissal and must undergo certification on a regular basis. Kerberos therefore provides external money laundering officers to monitor compliance with the measures for money laundering prevention in your business operations. Moreover, Kerberos supports you in the practical implementation of these measures as well as handling the communication with the authorities on your behalf. If you are interested in your own certification as a money laundering officer - this can also be accomplished with Kerberos.

Risk analyses in respect of obligated parties form the basis for effective money laundering prevention. Kerberos ensures that risk analyses are individually tailored to the areas of activity, clients and local peculiarities of individual obligated parties. Consequently, the implementation of the resulting measures in business operations can be carried out without delay.

The Anti-Money Laundering Act overrides the duty of confidentiality

Lawgivers increase pressure on liberal professions

Public interest in combating money laundering

prevails the confidentiality interest of the obligated parties - Berliner VG - Beschluss v. 05.02.2021, Az. 12 L 258/20

What are the money laundering risks associated with the liberal professions?

Liberal professionals such as lawyers, notaries, patent attorneys, chamber counsel, auditors or tax consultants do not tend to be primary targets of money launderers. Nevertheless, they too cannot avoid being required to authenticate major investments such as the purchase of houses, to draw up contracts and even to pay taxes. In this process, they need professional support and consultation. If money laundering activities are not detected during these processes, money launderers have crossed their final hurdle and successfully channelled their money into the legal economic cycle. 

In the recent past, the state of Berlin has increasingly dealt with cases in which money laundering activities were nevertheless uncovered after the fact - obligated persons from the liberal professions, some of whom were involved as notaries, but did not file reports. A task force also uncovered that there were blatant failures to comply with obligations among nearly 60 notaries who were reviewed. These cases sometimes lead to increased audits being performed as well as to sanctions being imposed for the corresponding violations.

Which precautions against money laundering are taken by lawgivers?

The lawgivers responded most recently in 2020 with a new "Ordinance on Matters Subject to Reporting in the Real Estate Sector under the Money Laundering Act". According to this regulation, the duty of confidentiality of liberal professions will be lifted in certain cases. Accordingly, more suspicious activity reports are to be expected in the coming years - in 2018, out of 77,252 suspicious activity cases, only eight were reported to the FIU by notaries in total.

The results of the Berlin task force on money laundering prevention among notaries have also encouraged the supervisory authorities to continue addressing the issue of money laundering and compliance inspections among liberal professions as well.

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