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The Council of Bars and Law Societies of the European Union (CCBE) is calling for the requirement that lawyers report money laundering suspicions to be removed from a European directive.
In the CCBE submission on the third money laundering directive, released today (November 9) the council says: "The requirements on a lawyer to report suspicions regarding the activities of clients based upon information disclosed by clients in strictest confidence is in the view of the CCBE a violation of a fundamental right. As a result, the essence of the lawyer/client relationship has in our view now been infringed upon as a result of the 2001 EU money laundering Directive."
As reported by The Lawyer in July, the CCBE is also concerned about the short amount of time elapsed between the introduction of the proposed third money laundering directive and the second directive.
It believes that the implementation of the second directive, launched in 2001, has not yet been sufficiently evaluated and that confusion exists with regard to this implementation.
However, the CCBE’s submission stresses that where a lawyer provides legal advice to a client on money laundering, they are party to an offence and should face penalties.