News CNUE, 23 July 2019
FATF highlights the role of the notary system in the fight against money laundering
On 8 July 2019, the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) published its new guidelines for a risk-based approach for legal professionals. The previous edition was published in 2007-2008. “The anti-money laundering system used by Spanish notaries represents a significant step forward for public authorities,” notes the FATF.
“All parties subject to anti-money laundering requirements can consult the beneficial ownership database (Base de Datos de Titular Real, BDTR),” it points out.
The FATF proposes a series of measures for governments to combat money laundering and terrorist financing and to protect the integrity of the international financial system. These measures include a model to be followed by the money laundering prevention system used by notaries in Spain, and specifically its BDTR.
The guide has been sent to the 39 countries that form part of the FATF, including Spain, as well as to member associations such as the European Union.
The Guide states that “The AML system used by Spanish notaries represents a considerable advance for the public authorities who, thanks to its implementation, now have access to a new source of valuable information: the notarial indexes (a single database with information on all public instruments and policies notarised and attested in the country). This information is processed in an integrated and automated way to detect possible money laundering and terrorist financing operations.
On the Beneficial Ownership Database (BDTR), created in 2012 and regulated by Royal Decree 304/2014, the FATF notes that “all parties subject to anti-money laundering obligations can consult the BDTR to facilitate compliance with due diligence obligations. This therefore allows the FIU and law enforcement agencies to obtain information on owners with a percentage of less than 25% (full corporate regime) in Spanish private limited companies, as of a given date.”
The FATF emphasises the two levels of quality of information in the BDTR, with “information verified in accordance with the transaction of sale and purchase of shares of Spanish private limited companies” and “information based on a declaration to a public officer (foreign companies, foundations, associations, Spanish companies)”.
Finally, the FATF states that “the General Council of Notaries has reached agreements with associations of parties subject to AML obligations (banks, savings banks, investment firms, auditors, lawyers, lotteries, credit institutions, etc.)”.
The Beneficial Ownership Database identified the beneficial owners, accredited in 86% of cases, of 2 300 000 legal persons, including companies and associations, foundations and political parties.