EU to tighten reporting obligations

THE EUROPEAN Parliament looks unlikely to heed the concerns about EU money laundering legislation’s erosion of client confidentiality, with its key civil liberties committee strengthening lawyers’ duties to inform the authorities about suspicious dealings.

The parliament has proposed that any reports of suspicious transactions “should be made directly to the financial information authority” of a member state, which in the UK is the National Criminal Intelligence Squad (NCIS).

Some EU lawyers have been using professional bodies as intermediaries for making suspicious transaction reports, which has, said the committee, increased confidentiality and the risk of information being “filtered”.

The Law Society said its members would still be given confidential advice. But a spokesman said: “That would not absolve lawyers of the obligation to notify the NCIS.”