October 18, 2020

German government announces plan to improve money laundering regulations

On October 14, 2020, the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection in Germany announced the government’s plan to draft a new money laundering bill, and introduce new and improved criminal regulations by December 3, 2020, that would improve the ability of German authorities to prosecute money laundering offenses. The new regulation is intended to replace and expand upon existing laws, to make it easier to prove money laundering offenses by establishing minimum requirements related to the definition of a money laundering offense.  

The primary change will involve expanding the type of activities that are considered money laundering offenses, by eliminating the current requirement that assets must originate from very specific criminal offenses.  The new law will only require that an asset be obtained through some kind of criminal act, regardless of whether the funds are connected to drug trafficking, extortion, human trafficking, fraud or breach of trust.  Under the new framework, any perpetrator who recklessly fails to identify the origin of assets or makes any attempt to accept, hide or disguise funds in the commercial marketplace, may be considered a participant in a money laundering offence and prosecuted accordingly.  

Federal Ministry of Justice Press Release | Federal Ministry of Justice Legislative Announcement | Draft Law (German)