Criminal sanctions: Comments and recommendations by the NBB
Irrespective of the possible application of Article 505 of the Criminal Code, the Anti-Money Laundering Law describes two offences for which criminal sanctions may be imposed on financial institutions falling under the supervisory powers of the NBB:
- any person who hinders the NBB’s inspections and verifications in Belgium or abroad, who refuses to provide information he/she is required to communicate pursuant to the Anti-Money Laundering Law or who knowingly provides incorrect or incomplete information, may be subject to a criminal sanction of between one month and one year and/or a fine of between EUR 250 and EUR 2 500 000 (penalties set out in Article 36/20, § 1, of the Law of 22 February 1998 establishing the organic statute of the NBB);
- anyone who infringes the provisions of Article 67 of the Anti-Money Laundering Law on the restriction of the use of cash may be subject to a criminal fine of between EUR 250 and EUR 225 000 which may not exceed 10 % of the illegal payment or donation.
The criminal offences set out in the Anti-Money Laundering Law are subject to the provisions of Book I of the Criminal Code, including Chapter VII and Article 85.
Legal persons are civilly liable for the criminal fines imposed on the members of their statutory governing bodies, on the persons in charge of the senior management or on their agents pursuant to the Anti-Money Laundering Law.
As regards financial institutions, the NBB is empowered to intervene at any stage of the procedure before the criminal courts dealing with criminal offences, without having to demonstrate any harm. This intervention should take place in accordance with the rules applicable to the civil party.
It should also be noted that Article 90/1 of the Anti-Money Laundering Law requires the NBB to inform the Public Prosecutor when it detects one of the above-mentioned offences in the exercise of its supervisory powers in relation to a financial institution.