Under Art. 324-1 et seq. of the French Criminal Code, the substantive elements of the money-laundering offense are:

  • Facilitating by any means the false justification of the origin of the property or income of a perpetrator of a serious offense (crime) or ordinary offense (délit) that provides the perpetrator with a direct or indirect benefit; or
  • Assisting with investing, concealing or converting the direct or indirect products of a serious or ordinary offense.

Goods or revenues are presumed to be the direct or indirect product of a serious or ordinary offense when the material, legal or financial conditions of the investment, concealment or conversion cannot have any other justification than hiding the origin or the actual beneficiary of these goods or revenues.

Money laundering is an intentional offense and the defendant must have acted with the intent to commit the offense (Art. 121-3 of the French Criminal Code). In fact, case law limits proof of this mens rea solely to knowledge of the criminal or tortious origin of the funds.

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