Customer Due Diligence and the Disclosure of “Unusual” Transactions
The Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act (Wwft) imposes obligations on all Dutch lawyers to identify their clients and, under certain circumstances, to disclose and report so-called “unusual transactions” to the relevant governmental bodies.
If we represent you in legal proceedings or give you advice before, during and after legal proceedings, or we give you advice in respect of the starting or avoiding of legal proceedings there will be no obligation on us to acquire formal verification of your identity (but we remain obligated to identify you) and no obligation to disclose and report so-called “unusual transactions”.
However when you ask our assistance in connection with the purchase or sale of property subject to registration, the management of money, securities, etc., the establishment or management of companies, legal entities or similar bodies, the purchase or sale of companies, activities in the field of taxes, the creation of mortgage rights without additional transfer of title, or acting in your name and at your expense in the event of a financial or real estate property transaction, then we have to identify you, our client, and we have to verify that identity in accordance with the provisions of the Wwft.
That implies, among other things, that we will investigate your data in the Commercial Register of the Chamber of Commerce or similar foreign institutions and we will also have to identify the ultimate interested party (Ultimate Beneficiary Owner or UBO) of our prospective client. The establishment and verification of the identity of natural persons usually shall take place by means of a valid proof of identity.
In order to avoid abuses and delays we would like to point out that, in the event that customer due diligence must be performed in certain cases, we are not allowed to commence our provision of service before this customer due diligence has been completed and we are not allowed to give assistance if the customer due diligence cannot be completed.
If our provision of service is under the scope of the Wwft, then we must also assess whether a possible (intended) unusual transaction is at issue. We must monitor the possible occurrence of unusual transactions also during our relationship with you as our client. If we find or suspect a (possible) unusual transaction, we are obligated to report this to the Financial Intelligence Unit - Nederland (FIU). If we proceed to make such report, under the provisions of the Wwft we are not allowed to inform you on this (the so-called “tipping-off prohibition”).
Please contact us in case you have further questions or if you wish detailed information on our obligations under the Wwft.