How will Russia, the “state promoter of terrorism”, affect the fight against money laundering?

Any professional subject to the AML law applying to receive money or material resources from a Russian government agency must send a statement of suspicion to the Financial Information Processing Union (CTIF).

On Wednesday, November 23, the European Parliament adopted a resolution designating Russia as a “state propagandist of terrorism” and “a state using terrorist means” due to the war of aggression in Ukraine. This resolution does not apply to the Anti-Money Laundering Act of September 18, 2017 (the AML Act).because this law is also aimed at preventing the financing of terrorism.

Francois Koning.

Article 3 of this law defines the financing of terrorism as follows: “the direct or indirect collection or transfer of funds or other material means by any means for the purpose of use or use knowing that it will be used in whole or in part by a terrorist organization or by a terrorist acting alone, even if not connected to a specific terrorist act”.

According to this definition, in order to talk about the financing of terrorism, it is not necessary to actually use those funds or other material means to commit or attempt to commit one or more terrorist acts. related to one or more specific acts of terrorism: necessary but it is sufficient that they are intended for use by a terrorist organizationnot otherwise specified and does not exclude that it may be a State.

In addition, Article 47 of the same law requires professionals subject to it to make a statement of suspicion to the Financial Information Processing Union (CTIF) when they know or suspect that funds or transactions are related to money laundering or terrorist financing.

The joint application of these two legal provisions in relation to the above-mentioned resolution of the European Parliament leads to the conclusion that any professional subject to the AML law is requested by a Russian state agency to provide him with any assistance, directly or indirectly. funds or other material means should therefore immediately send a suspicious transaction report to CTIF About this institution, as it is a part of the Russian State, which the resolution of the European Parliament defines as a “state using terrorist means”, that is, a terrorist organization in the sense of the above-mentioned Article 3.

Any Russian public institution will no longer be able to benefit from the help of European experts subject to anti-money laundering regulations for transactions related to money or other material means.

This professional will also end the intervention at the same time, but not necessarilyexpose him to civil and/or criminal liability for continuing despite reporting suspicionTo contribute to the activities of a “state that uses terrorist means” in accordance with the qualification adopted by the resolution of the European Parliament.

There is no exception

Re exemption for some professionals from the obligation to report suspicions provided for in Article 53 of the Preventive Law (auditors, accountants, notaries, etc.), seems inapplicable. Indeed, the reason for excluding this exception is that when the professional knows that he is being solicited for the purpose of financing terrorism, the professional knowledge will be deemed satisfied since it is an integral part of the client’s status. Considering the aforementioned resolution of the State of Russia and the European Parliament, its assistance in obtaining money or other material means is therefore requested for the “state that uses the means of terrorism” and therefore for the purposes of financing terrorism.

The European Parliament in its resolution a Further tightening of sanctions against Russia. It is clear that the induction effect of its above-mentioned resolution in terms of the application of AML rules already constitutes a significant emphasis in this respect.

Indeed, no Russian state agency will be able to do this in practice Benefit from the support of European experts when their intervention is required for a transaction directly or indirectly related to the acquisition of money or other material means – subject to anti-money laundering rules which are virtually similar in all Member States.

Francois Koning
Lawyer specializing in corporate criminal law

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