What are the legal consequences for me as a reporting party if I report an unusual transaction?
On the basis of Articles 19 and 20 of the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Prevention) Act (Wwft), if entities with an obligation to report do so in good faith, correctly, in full, and in a timely manner, they have criminal indemnity and are not liable under civil law. This means that as a reporting party you cannot be held liable for any damage your customer may incur as a result of your report, for instance. In addition, data that you report to us in accordance with the standards may not be used against you in a criminal investigation.
To enable the supervisory bodies to carry out their monitoring tasks, each quarter they receive a report from FIU-the Netherlands containing aggregated data about reporting behaviour in the sector under their supervision. Their status as supervisory authority also mandates them to, for instance, approach you directly to request information about your reporting behaviour and – if this is not satisfactory – to give instructions or undertake further steps. Since reporting behaviour falls under the Wwft supervisory authorities, that is where you should turn for any questions about how to interpret the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Prevention) Act (Wwft), and about what does or does not fall under the Act. The supervisory authorities have written guidelines on this to assist the relevant sectors.
Under the Wwft, FIU-the Netherlands is the implementing party. We receive your unusual transaction reports, and we are the only party that can inspect these unusual transactions. Analysing such transactions is the daily work of a large proportion of our staff. Given that this work is classified as state secret, there are many details that we cannot discuss with you, but this does not mean that we do not welcome your questions. We are not permitted to answer the question of what must be reported and what not. But we can help you with questions about how to report an unusual transaction and how you can ensure your report is as informative as possible. And we try to provide tools to assist you in your task as a gatekeeper of the financial system. You are always welcome to contact us about such matters.
FIU-the Netherlands stores reports of unusual transactions in a highly secure and protected database, where they are classified as “State secret – secret”. This database can only be accessed by employees of FIU-the Netherlands whose position requires such access. Nobody else has access to the database. If analysis of a given unusual transaction reveals sufficient grounds to designate it suspicious, the suspicious transaction becomes police data, which can be accessed by the investigative, intelligence, and security services. This suspicious transaction is no longer classified as “State secret – secret”, but now falls under the Police Data Act (Wet Politiegegevens).
The investigative services can use a suspicious transaction in various ways, and depending on these uses, it may end up in a prosecution file. If the suspicious transaction is included in a prosecution file, safeguards are in place to protect the safety of the reporting entity. These safeguards were further strengthened by a motion (NL) adopted by the Dutch House of Representatives in 2020.
If you receive notification that your report has been rejected, this means that there is something wrong with the content of the report, so the report has not been registered by FIU-the Netherlands. In the reporting portal, you can find the rejected report under ‘Reports submitted’. You can then open the report and modify it. Click here (NL) for more detailed instructions.