Revised Money Laundering Act in force - January 2020

On 01.01.2020, some significant changes to the Money Laundering Act came into force. Already since October 2017, legal entities under private law and registered partnerships have been obliged to notify their beneficial owners electronically for entry in the transparency register (www.transparenzregister.de). In future, details of the first and last name, date of birth, place of residence and nationality of the beneficial owner must be entered there. In the case of multi-level shareholding structures, it is advisable to submit an organization chart. Without registration in the transparency register or in the absence of conclusive documentation of the ownership and control structure, there will in future even be a ban on notarisation when purchasing real estate.

Those obliged under the Money Laundering Act (including banks, notaries, tax advisors and lawyers) are in turn obliged to report missing or incomplete information to the Central Office for Financial Transaction Investigations.

Both late notifications to the Transparency Register as well as completely omitted registrations are punishable by fines under the Money Laundering Act. However, according to the catalogue of fines of the Federal Office of Administration, completely missing information triggers a fivefold higher fine than merely incomplete or late information. It is therefore urgently recommended that missing or even incomplete information be provided immediately. For questions, please kindly contact Dr. Mark-Alexander Huth or Johannes Thies.

*Photo: Geldwäsche – Geld in einer Waschmaschine waschen by Marco Verch under Creative Commons 2.0

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