Reporting and inspection under the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Prevention) Act (WWFT)
The Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Prevention) Act (WWFT)
Some forms of services provided by (junior) civil-law notaries, lawyers, tax advisors, (registered)accountants and real estate agents fall under the scope of the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Prevention) Act (WWFT).
Under the WWFT, the aforesaid service providers are obliged to conduct client investigations whenever they are asked for advice or assistance in the following cases:
- the purchase or sale of immovable property;
- the management of funds, securities or other monetary values;
- the incorporation or management of companies, legal persons or similar entities;
- the purchase or sale or acquisition of companies;
- specific tax-related actions.
One component of a client investigation consists of identifying the client and verifying the correctness of that identity. The identity of natural persons is ascertained by means of a valid identification document. This can be done in person at our offices or at the offices of another firm of civil-law notaries. If done by another firm, that firm can charge a fee for the service it provides.
In the case of legal persons, the ultimate stakeholder will also have to be identified. This is also referred to as the ‘Ultimate Beneficial Owner’, or UBO. The WWFT defines an UBO as follows:
- A natural person who retains an interest of 25% in the capital sum or who can exercise more than 25% of the voting rights at the general meeting of shareholders of any legal entity other than a foundation, or who can otherwise factually exercise control over those legal entities, unless the legal entity in question is a listed company.
- A beneficiary of 25% or more of the capital of a foundation or a trust, or a person with special control of 25% or more over the assets of a foundation or a trust.
In most cases, the identity of a UBO can be ascertained through the issuance of a statement from the client in question concerning the person in question and the correctness of the identity.
In such cases, we are obliged to request the aforesaid details from you prior to providing our services.
Under the WWFT, civil-law notaries have a duty to report to the Dutch National Criminal Intelligence Service, Financial Intelligence Unit the Netherlands, if they are asked to provide a service that is suspected to be linked to money laundering and/or the financing of terrorism. The fact that such reporting takes place may not be disclosed to the client in question.
If you would like to receive more Information about the enforcement of WWFT within our office, please contact one of our civil-law notaries or other members of staff.