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The rules in Europe and the Netherlands in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing are becoming increasingly stricter and comprehensive. The authorities are also increasingly directing their attention to the role of gatekeepers (banks, accountants, and other financial institutions). This has already led to various enforcement actions by regulators and the Public Prosecution Service for violations of the Dutch Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Prevention) Act (“Wwft”). The Wwft is the Dutch implementation of various EU anti-money laundering directives (AML directives). Then there are various international economic and financial sanctions prohibiting the trade with certain parties, the supply of certain goods (such as dual use goods), or the provision of financial resources to parties in sanctioned countries. Failure to comply with the Wwft or the Dutch Sanctions Act 1977 can have major consequences for your company and management. Companies and financial institutions may be subject to hefty fines. And management runs the risk of personal fines or criminal prosecution. Moreover, if a financial institution violates any of these laws, this may affect directors’ future career prospects. For example, when the regulatory authorities run a fit-and-proper (re)assessment. 

NautaDutilh's AML & Sanctions team advises gatekeepers, such as financial institutions (e.g. banks, investment institutions, insurers) and accountants, on a daily basis on compliance with the Wwft and Dutch and EU sanctions regulations. This ranges from the proper performance of client due diligence (CDD/KYC) and investigations into and reporting of unusual transactions, to reviewing Wwft and sanctions policies. And, as regards financial institutions, reviewing the way in which they conduct Systematic Integrity Risk Analyses (SIRA). As part of the licence application process with the Dutch Central Bank (DNB) and the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM), our team can also help set up an overall compliance framework (if necessary in collaboration with other experts). 

In addition, we advise companies on issues regarding the UBO register or questions from gatekeepers (e.g. banks, accountants) about certain transactions or clients. It is vital that those questions are answered properly and in a timely fashion, not only to prevent unusual transactions from being reported to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), but also because failure to answer them properly may have far-reaching consequences for your company, including termination of your relationship with a bank or the withholding of an unqualified opinion by the auditors. 

Compliance with international sanctions remains a challenge for internationally operating companies. The EU Blocking Statute prohibits European entities from acting in accordance with designated US sanctions (OFAC sanctions), which may lead to difficult situations for companies. As well-positioned and independent law firm with strong ties with law firms around the world, including the US, NautaDutilh can provide clients with multi-jurisdictional advice.  

If your institution or company is confronted with an investigation by the AFM, DNB or FIOD for alleged failure to comply with the Wwft or sanctions legislation, our team stands ready to help you manage the investigation, minimise the risk of fines, and take remedial action (see also Assistance in raids). It may also be necessary for you to conduct an internal investigation into transactions or clients. Our Corporate Investigations team will be happy to help you, drawing on a wealth of experience with compliance reviews and internal investigations. 

NautaDutilh's Corporate Crime Team
 

Our experts are members of the NautaDutilh's Corporate Crime team, which comprises twenty criminal lawyers who are known for their pragmatic and hands-on approach. We have twenty-five years of experience in financial and economic sanctions law and administrative law.

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Highlighted work

  • Assisting various banks in connection with criminal and administrative enforcement of the Wwft;
  • Extensive review of a bank's Wwft and sanctions policy and assistance when Dutch Central Bank announced that it would be taking action;
  • Advising the Big Four on their obligations under the Wwft and sanctions legislation with regard to their audit procedures for financial statements; 
  • Assisting and advising financial institutions, accountants and companies on reporting unusual transactions and the administrative and criminal enforcement of the relevant legislation; 
  • Assisting various companies in drawing up a Wwft policy and SIRA as part of their application for a licence to operate as a payment service provider from the Dutch Central Bank. 

Meet the team leads

See the whole team

What others say

Our Corporate Crime team has been ranked Tier 1 in the Legal 500 for many years now. Led by three of the firm’s female partners, the team also definitely promotes female leadership. 

  • "NautaDutilh provide a premier white-collar crime service. They have deep market knowledge and are instructed on a range of high profile cross-border matters. The team is collegiate and user friendly and adds tremendous value as part of an international consortium of law firms on cross-border matters." (Legal500 2020)
  • ‘Constructive attitude, pragmatic thinking within the limits of the law, approachable and social.‘ (Legal500 2020)
  • "Top notch quality in various areas of economic crime. Strong international background, very well-connected with authorities." (Legal500 2020)
  • "Marike Bakker is an excellent lawyer with tremendous experience that allows her to give on-point commercial and practical advice. Simone Honig is a rising star with excellent knowledge of AML law and regulation." (Legal500 2020)

 

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