Any company, regardless of size, can be exploited by criminals for money laundering purposes. There is always the risk of an investigation being initiated on suspicion of reckless money laundering according to § 261 para. 6 StGB (German Criminal Code). This can only be countered through effective money laundering compliance.

Regulatory obligations are standardised in the Money Laundering Act (GwG). The newly reformed Money Laundering Act has been in force since 1 January 2020. The obligation to introduce an AMLA risk management system affects not only companies from the financial sector, but also dealers in goods, capital management companies, finance companies, brokers, notaries, lawyers, tax advisors, auditors, in-house lawyers, gambling organisers and office service providers. The new Money Laundering Act defines money laundering prevention as a management task: obligated companies have to appoint a "member of the management level" who is responsible for risk management. In addition, many companies have to appoint a money laundering officer.
The implementation of the comprehensive obligations under the Money Laundering Act is therefore the responsibility of the management, in particular the

  • Preparation and updating of the risk analysis,
  • implementation of internal security measures,
  • monitoring compliance with due diligence obligations (KCY and CDD),
  • setting up a system for the immediate submission of suspicious activity reports to the FIU.

However, the obligations relevant in practice are subject to interpretation in many places of the AMLA. There is hardly any case law and (with the exception of a few interpretation and application notes) published authority practice. In Germany, more than 330 supervisory authorities are responsible for obliged entities from the non-financial sector, some of which examine and proceed very differently.



Dr. Niklas Auffermann