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Lawyers forced to report clients they suspect of money laundering

6232A new law takes effect on September 18th, 2017 that does away with client confidentiality by obliging lawyers, bankers and notaries to inform the Central Investigation Department should they suspect their clients of money laundering or terrorist financing.

This new legislation strengthens the powers of the Central Criminal Investigation and Action Department (DCIAP) "for the purpose of preventing money laundering and terrorist financing, to access directly all financial information, fiscal, administrative, judicial and police."

Lawyers also are prohibited from notifying their clients if they are being investigated and lawyers, solicitors and notaries are prohibited from taking any actions that result in their involvement in money laundering or terrorist financing operation.

This and other rules are in a package that sets out measures to combat money laundering and defines a series of actions that lawyers and others have to undertake.

The list of professional covered includes banks, lawyers, solicitors, notaries, auditors, sports agents and auctioneers.

Rui Patrício, a partner of Morais Leitão, Galvão Teles, Soares da Silva & Associados, has already criticized some aspects of this "admirable" new preventive regime.

In a conference run by the recently launched Portuguese Observatory of Compliance and Regulation on money laundering and terrorist financing prevention, Patrício considered the new rules "very extensive" and states that "there is something out of the ordinary in this package," and that the meansure fo too far and are not likely to have the desired effects.

The new rules potentially oblige these professionals to lie to their clients if said client is being investigated as lawyers will have to avoid any actions that may indicate to the client that they are being investigated over suspected money laundering or terrorist financing.

The new rules also state that if a lawyer is suspicious about a client, the lawyer can’t just drop the client without reporting their suspicions in full to the authorities.

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+6 #2 Maximillian 2017-09-09 08:14
It may be worth looking into lawyer's practices first. Many of them are not clean at all. :sigh:
+3 #1 Peter Booker 2017-09-09 07:06
Lawyers in Portugal are notoriously precious and touchy. Anything which even hints at criticism is fiercely resisted. This new law is a step in the right direction of bringing lawyers back under the rule of law.

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