Almost a year ago, on January 6th, a task force on money laundering started its work at the notary supervision at the regional court, now Justice Senator Dirk Behrendt (Greens) has again presented a balance sheet. Figures were published in July after a six-month task force. By mid-December, 60 Berlin notaries had been checked under the Money Laundering Act.
Exact statistics on the number and type of abnormalities discovered by the task force do not exist. It is therefore not clear in how many cases notaries actually disregarded indications of money laundering.
In the previous reviews, however, violations by notaries of the obligation to identify contractual partners and the obligation to record and store documents relating to transactions and business relationships by the judicial administration were found.
Notaries have reported evidence of money laundering with a remarkable seldom
In addition, there are violations of the notarization bans: Notaries have to refuse to sign if contractual partners from abroad do not disclose who is behind this to property buyers.
Notaries had reported noticeably seldom indications of money laundering. In 2018 alone, 77,252 suspected cases across Germany landed with the “Financial Intelligence Unit” – but only eight reports to the central office for financial transaction investigations of the customs came from notaries.
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That was another reason for the Berlin judiciary to set up the task force. By October 1, 2020, 14 reportable cases had been submitted by Berlin notaries. “The figures prove us right that the Berlin judiciary has taken on more intensive controls of the Money Laundering Act,” said Justice Senator Behrendt.
“In particular, real estate transactions and company purchase agreements are particularly susceptible to money laundering.” Monitoring the legal obligations of notaries when making notarizations is an important contribution to combating money laundering.