AML Oversight and Fines
Authorities are upgrading
In Germany, more than 330 supervisory authorities are responsible for obligated parties from the non-financial sector, some of which examine and proceed very differently. This has already been criticised by the FATF in its Mutual Evaluation Report 2022.
Germany wants to react to this with a new supervisory structure and a higher federal authority for combating financial crime (BBF) as well as its own Federal Financial Criminal Police Office (BFKA).
In addition, the EU is planning a new Money Laundering Regulation (AMLR) and a new EU supervisory authority (AMLA). The next amendment to the Money Laundering Act is also already on the horizon with a new EU Money Laundering Directive (AMLD). The EU Commission has announced further measures for a more effective fight against money laundering and terrorist financing in the form of an AML/CTF Action Plan and published a roadmap. Legislators and authorities will fight money laundering and terrorist financing more effectively in the coming years and have therefore significantly tightened the requirements for risk management.
Supervisory authorities carry out inspections without any reason. Questionnaires are regularly used to provide information according to § 52 GwG. Audits regularly focus on real estate, high-value goods, company formations and trust services. Frequently, audits result from notifications by other authorities, especially the tax authorities, § 31 b AO.
Violations of the MLA can be punished severely. There are more than 80 offences for which fines of up to 5 million euros or up to 10 % of the previous year's turnover can be imposed. Even higher fines can be imposed for breaches of supervisory duty under section 130 OWiG. In addition, further sanctions may be imposed:
- Public announcement of final measures and fine decisions for a period of five years, naming and shaming the persons concerned,
- Entry in the central business register,
- confiscation of assets, especially if they are mixed with legal assets,
- prohibitions by the supervisory authority,
- Criminal liability risk of the management for reckless money laundering, § 261 StGB