The European Commission is refining the 4th Directive with a few small touches.
We have already discussed the subject of the 5th Directive on 24 August 2018.
The 6th Directive was published in the Official Journal of the European Communities on 12 November 2018. This 6th Directive clearly defines concepts such as “criminal activity” and “money laundering”. In fact, a Directive to ensure that these rules are treated in the same way in all European countries.
Our attention was particularly drawn to Article 3, 2°, which clearly stipulates that offenders who suspected or should have known that money laundering was taking place are liable to sanctions.
The phrase”…should have known…” is of great importance for legal or financial professionals. Too often we still meet people who do not hide because they “do not want to know” because it would involve too complex an approach. Do they realize the sword of Damocles they have over their heads?
Article 6 goes further by clarifying the notion of “aggravating circumstances”. This includes entities subject to Article 2 of the 4th Directive (Lawyers, Notaries, External Chartered Accountants, Auditors, Real Estate Agents, etc.) that have participated in an infringement.
The purpose of the 6th Directive is also to ensure that criminal convictions are applied in the European States for this type of offence.
A touch of extraterritoriality is introduced allowing a State to prosecute one of its nationals who has committed offences outside its territory.
This new Directive must be transposed into national law by 3 December 2020.