Belgium issues new law on anti-money laundering
Belgium transposes 4th AML-Directive, looking forward to the 5th AML Directive
The main principles underlying the Belgian anti-money laundering system have been maintained, so there is revolution in anti-money laundering regulations.
Nevertheless, there are innovations: (1) a register of beneficial owners, (2) the risk-based approach, (3) whistle-blowing and (4) increased sanctions.
Focus on the new Register of beneficial owners ("Ultimate Beneficial Owner")
Beneficial owners are the natural person(s) either (i) who ultimately own(s) or control(s) the customer, the customer’s representative or the beneficiary of a life insurance policy; or (ii) on whose behalf a transaction or activity is being conducted.
Very important is the two-stage obligation on behalf of the legal entity to identify beneficial owners as
(i) natural persons owning, directly or indirectly, enough voting rights (refering tot a 25% threshold); or
(ii) natural person(s) controlling the entity by other means.
if the first two checks have not enabled the obliged entity to identify the beneficial owners, then the main directors are the beneficial owners. This is different from the regime under the 1993 Law, under which this last step was mandatory. Another difference is that not all directors have to be identified, only the main directors (usually the CEO), being the ones with the most influence on the management of the company.
Also, NGO and other non-profit organisations can come into the scope of the new regulations.
Please contact us for further information.