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Wwft (anti-money laundering legislation)

Developments in anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing (CTF) legislation are coming thick and fast. Increasing numbers of parties are expected to go to ever more lengths to prevent money laundering.

Under the Dutch AML/CTF legislation ("Wwft": Wet ter voorkoming van witwassen en financieren van terrorisme), the gatekeepers of the financial system have all manner of obligations. Non-compliance with these obligations is subject to an administrative fine or in some cases even criminal prosecution.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you are accused of having breached your Wwft obligations. We are here to help.

Are you subject to the Wwft?

Anyone handling large sums of money or trading in luxury goods is governed by the Dutch Wwft. This includes banks, civil-law notaries, estate agents, accountants, tax advisers and traders in valuable goods.

Key obligations under the Wwft

If you are subject to the Wwft, you are expected to fulfil a number of obligations, the key ones being:

Conducting client due diligence (CDD):

  • In short, client due diligence is carried out to verify the identity of the client.
  • Given that the Wwft is risk-based, the risk associated with the client determines how thorough the CDD should be.
  • You are required to include a written account of the CDD in your records.
  • If you cannot complete the CDD, you cannot enter into a business relationship with the client in question, nor can you conduct transactions for them.

Reporting unusual transactions:

  • A transaction might be classified as unusual for various reasons, for instance because a client makes large cash payments or conducts major transactions that do not tie in with their normal business operations.
  • Dutch law provides a number of indicators for unusual transactions. These indicators vary from institution to institution.
  • In the Netherlands, unusual transactions have to be reported to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU-NL).
  • A tipping-off ban applies, meaning that you cannot tell the client in question that a report has been made.

Report when in doubt?

Institutions subject to the Wwft are required to report unusual transactions. In some instances, there may be doubt as to whether a transaction is unusual. While it may seem the safest option to report any such transactions to make sure that you fulfil your own obligations, we would recommend a certain amount of caution. By making an unwarranted report, you potentially violate your duty of confidentiality to your client as well as privacy requirements under the GDPR.

You may also want to investigate further before coming to a conclusion. We can help you with that.

Fine or criminal prosecution

 Violations of the Wwft are either punishable by fine or prosecution. We regularly represent institutions that have been accused of such violations or have been sanctioned with an administrative fine. Our specialists also give courses and workshops on money laundering and terrorist financing. Please do not hesitate to contact us if the regulator has imposed a fine or if a criminal investigation has been instituted against you. Contact  

 
  • Most important Wwft regulations
  • Money laundering
  • Civil and Criminal Indemnity
  • Criminal prosecution or administrative fine
  • WED

Contact our specialists

J.N. (Judith) de Boer

G.M. (Mariëlle) Boezelman

A.A. (Anke) Feenstra

P.J. (Peter) van Hagen

M. (Maaike) Coenen

L.M. (Luce) Smithuijsen

J.R.J. (Judith) Gijsen

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