Money leads to crime

Money laundering: is your money really yours?

When asked what our today's society what matters most, some answer without hesitation: that money. Those who do it to havewant to keep it and those who don't have it strive permanently afterwards. Around this conflict arise social structures.

In this Field of tension Illegal methods are also flourishing Profit generation. Those who are familiar with mafia films know: these profits have to be made "getting washed"before they can be used. But how exactly does money laundering work? Which Methods are applied? And how will she fined?

Basically grab two important laws in terms of money laundering: on the one hand, that defines criminal codewhen the offense is fulfilled and which Punish threaten for this. On the other hand, it regulates Money Laundering Actwhat precautions certain companies must take in order to Prevent money laundering.

This counselor devotes itself to both aspects and goes to the criminal component and the Measures to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.

FAQ: money laundering

What is money laundering?

Criminals try to bring their proceeds from crime or illegal machinations into legal money circulation. They want to prevent the authorities from being able to understand where the money came from and how it got into circulation. You can find a more detailed definition here.

How does money laundering then actually take place?

Dirty money can e.g. B. from illegal drug or arms trafficking or bribery. In order to “wash it in”, a criminal sets up a front company and issues invoices for services that have never been performed.

Why is money laundering a criminal offense?

One of the main motives of organized crime is to generate maximum profit. However, the perpetrators should be prevented from using their "dirty" money for everyday business and thus making him appear to be legal. Similar to criminal tax evasion, the incentive for such acts is to be reduced.

Money laundering: definition according to the criminal law

Restaurants with impossibly low prices, always empty Laundromats, Casinos and casinos ... cinema fans know them Clichés all too good about money laundering.

The reality however, sees one clearly broader Definition as some movie enthusiast might think.

When the Offense of money laundering present is defined in the Criminal Code (StGB). § 261 holds on:

(1) Anyone who hides an object that originates from an […] illegal act, conceals its origin or thwarts or endangers the determination of the origin, the finding, the decay, the confiscation or the seizure of such an object, will be sentenced to imprisonment of between three months and five years. "

As "Object" applies at this point as well money. It becomes clear: money laundering is a crime, which is a previous crime presupposes which one it is Respectively can. It is only possible, "dirty" Laundering money.

The following illegal acts apply, among other things, within the meaning of this paragraph as Predicate offenses:

  • Bribery, corruption
  • Drug cultivation, sale, trafficking or the manufacture, sale and trafficking of drug precursors
  • Smuggling and tax stealing
  • Commercial or gang-related offenses: forgery of documents, pimping, human trafficking, forced prostitution, forced labor, exploitation of labor (including taking advantage of deprivation of liberty), theft, embezzlement, extortion, stolen goods, fraud, embezzlement, forgery of documents, unauthorized gambling
  • Preparation of a state-endangering act of violence, financing of terrorism, formation of a criminal organization, membership of a terrorist organization

The means in practice: Does anyone gain value through one of the above crimes - be it Money or an item of value -, this value is "flawed". Tries a person to this asset hide or its origin disguisehe makes himself the Money laundering guilty.

But not only that active money laundering is punishable. Still determined Section 261 of the Criminal Code:

(2) Anyone who uses an object referred to in paragraph 1 shall also be punished
1. procured for himself or a third party or
2. kept or used for himself or a third party if he knew the origin of the item at the time he obtained it. "

This point goes a long way about the first paragraph of the law. He already punishes that possession dirtier values ​​if this knowingly were acquired.

That is why money laundering is prohibited

Most Offenses arise in order to generate profits. Be it an inheritance murder or simple murder tax evasion: Wouldn't the offense with one considerable money advantage are rewarded, there would be no incentive to do the same.

This one approach prosecute the judiciary if they don't just do that crime in itself, but also the subsequent money laundering makes a criminal offense. Accomplices should be deterred and that illegally obtained money be ostracized as it were.

In this way the Incentive of crime be reduced. Although it does generate money for perpetrators, it does inoperable made.

A Main argument To prevent money laundering is the dehydration and fight against Terrorist financing.

Estimates: This is how widespread money laundering is in Germany

According to a Study by the University of Halle are annually in Germany about 100 billion euros washed. However, this number is based on Estimates, as a large part of the money laundering activities logically undetected remains.

Given this high volume In German and European politics, the idea of Combat this act less in the Money Laundering Act Cash to allow, so a maximum limit for Cash transactions to introduce.

Since money laundering is at least in Initial stage refers to large sums of cash, one could upper limit thwart many crimes according to politics.

On the other hand is the privacy the citizen: Cashless transactions are always run by the authorities comprehensible.

This is how money laundering works

Get criminals out illegal activities Money, the German judiciary is allowed to do this confiscate. One option for perpetrators is to report it to all official bodies hide. However, it cannot then be used for legal transactions used become. To prevent this from happening, the money must be "washed" - its connection with the crime veiled become.

Are there three rough phases to distinguish. First, the sums in the Economic cycle be smuggled in. In this phase the greatest opportunityTo convict money launderers. For example, banks have to report high deposits.

In the next phase, the Origin of the money veiled. Its "trace" should be so thorough blurred become that it can no longer be traced. Various Transactions at home and abroad are the rule here.

Finally, the amounts should - now "clean" - officially back flow to the launderer. Successful money laundering is characterized by the fact that no longer understood can be that one and the same person put the money in the Economic cycle brought and then received again.

Already knew? According to presumptions, the term money laundering goes on the legendary Al Capone back which one Laundromats used to cover up the origin of his funds.

Who is guilty of money laundering? A broad criminal offense.

The Money laundering provisions in the StGB are not easy to understand for laypeople. When exactly is the offense of money laundering Fulfills? Under which requirements are you guilty?

Look at some Examples should therefore be made clear when the facts are met and when not.

A matter of intent

Basically sets Money laundering anticipate that to some extent knows or ought to knowthat the money received came from crime. Ignorance protects in this case limited before punishment.

The German law uses the term in the case of money laundering "Frivolity". Section 261 of the Criminal Code states:

(5) Anyone who in the cases of paragraph 1 or 2 does not recognize that the object originates from an [...] illegal act will be punished with imprisonment for up to two years or a fine.

Frivolity lies in this context between negligence and intent - in civil law this condition becomes "Gross negligence" called. But when do those affected recognize frivolously not that you help illegally obtained money to wash? This is true when the one should have imposedthat the accepted sum of money procured illegally has been. The Federal Court of Justice(BGH) defines recklessness in this context as intentional form of guilt.

Let's take one example: Someone asks you to open your account "rent" to be allowed - so for Transactions to use. This means that large sums of money are regularly credited to your account deposited and to other accounts forwarded. In this constellation, the facts of the frivolous money laundering are present.

Example 2: You sell on one Online action platform an item and get for it money from a buyer K. This one got it through the Disposal of drugs won. Here you usually have no hints about accepting money earned from crime. So it lies no frivolous money laundering in front.

Important: Affected do not have to be able to prove that the money from illegal business originates. One strong suspicion and one disregard its may be enough to substantiate the frivolous money laundering to meet.

Who got the money in front of you?

A further passage of § 261 states:

(6) The act is not [...] punishable if a third party has previously obtained the object without thereby committing a criminal offense. "

That means you Accept money can which originally originates from an illegal act, but now for example from one ignorant third parties was brought into possession.

This paragraph guaranteedthat the business community is not going to Dry up comes. If the criminal liability did not cease to exist, it would illegally obtained money always remain criticized. Since a share of 25% of such money the entire wealth of a person "contaminate“This passage of law prevents all money in Germany unusable becomes.

The contamination of legal funds

The formulation "originate", Which is used in the StGB, is at this point special attention to give. This is a fact for the ignorant nasty stumbling block.

At directly stolen goods or sums of money The situation is simple - you are a stolen watch or stolen money without doubt Items that are subject to money laundering Respectively can. But the concept of "Coming from“Is much broader.

Even objects, which only partly with money were acquired, which is criticized in the sense of the law, fall Completely under the term of the "object from an unlawful act". These Contamination dilutes the limits of the criminal offense for laypeople.

example: After a successful theft, Peter goes shopping House, which he partly through savings and partly through Stolen paid. The complete property thus becomes an object to which money laundering can relate. Ludwig buys this house in the knowledge he cares about the origin of the money guilty.

Sold Peter now hands the house back to a third party, the entire sum that he receives for it will also be for the Subject of money laundering. If Ludwig (still knowingly) accepts part of this money, he also fulfills it Offense of money laundering.

Special case of tax evasion

Particularly fast The offense of money laundering is fulfilled if it relates to the criminal offense of tax evasion relates. In some cases, this is not the only thing that applies here money, which perpetrators save through unpaid tax payments as corrupted, but also the objects for which Taxes would have to be paid.

example: A car dealer A pays taxes only half of the carsthat he sells. Take knowingly you make that money from him, which he should actually give to the tax office punishable.

But even if you are from him knowingly buying a carfor which he no taxes has paid, make yourself the Guilty of money laundering.

Because of this principle is intended to effectively prevent one professional tax evader earned some kind of income from the tax fraud. At the same time, however, this regulation leads to a considerable expansion those objects on which the facts of the Money laundering can relate.

Penalties according to the StGB: There is a risk of imprisonment

Money launderers face imprisonment of 3 months to 5 years. Is the sentence under six months, those affected usually get away with a fine. One month corresponds to imprisonment 30 daily rates.

In particularly severe cases is the term of imprisonment a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 10 years. A sentence commuted to a fine is here not provided. Such severe cases are considered gang-like or professional Money laundering offenses.

Money laundererwhich is the violation gullible commit can circumvent a prison sentence. In this case there is a threat either two years imprisonment or alternatively a Fine of up to 360 daily rates.

As criminal record money launderers almost always apply - there can be an exception for Perpetrators of frivolous money laundering consist.

By the way: Report the deed themselves to money launderers or allow the relevant person to be handed over Asset to the authorities, they can unpunished go out.

Impunity for Criminals?

In one special case Launderers receive no penalty for the Breaking the law. This applies if he has the Predicate offense also committed. The law states:

According to Paragraphs 1 to 5, anyone who is liable for participation in the previous offense is not punished. "(Section 261 StGB)

This passage is, however relativized: Just hiding that Obfuscation the origin and the disability Finding and securing illegally acquired assets are exempt from punishment if the launderer also at the predecessor was involved.

The Impunity However, no longer applies from the moment in which he has the money in traffic brings and thereby the illegal background kept silent. The so-called "Self laundering“Is therefore only not punishable in very specific cases.

The Impunity So for money laundering does not mean that the criminal No punishment comes to. The affected assets are in spite of impunity included.

Measures to prevent money laundering: The Money Laundering Act in detail

It will clear: Almost every citizen gets into dangerto get involved in money laundering guilty close. But it's not just private individuals who have to exercise caution, companies in particular are subject to banking and capital market lawCommitted, certain Precautions to take.

These are in the "Serious Crime Profits Tracing Act"Regulated - this is also"Money Laundering Act"Or GWG. The law states that, among others, the following companies or entrepreneurs special requirements to prevent money laundering must follow:

  • Banks, credit institutions, financial companies
  • insurance company
  • Lawyers, brokers, notaries, legal service providers
  • Commercial traders
  • Casinos and casinos
  • Economic, tax, accountant
  • Asset manager

Below we go to the most important paragraphs of the GWG one and shed light on which precautions to take Prevention of money laundering for example banks have to take action.

§ 3 Money Laundering Act (GWG): Due diligence

Section 3 of the Money Laundering Act generally determines which Duties exist for the above-mentioned companies. If this one Business relationship enter into or carry out one or more transactions that exceed the value of 15,000 euros lie, they have to identity of the business partner unequivocally determine as well as some Information about his person catch up.

This also applies if Entrepreneur suspect that your business partner is doing it Money laundering or terrorist financing guilty.

What means that in practice? When does a bank have to information obtain from your customers in accordance with the Money Laundering Act? A Cash deposit of 15,000 euros or several cash deposits totaling 15,000 euros are set by the Information obligation of the financial institution in motion. The same applies, for example, if a Furniture dealer Furnishings worth 15,000 euros or more sold to the same person.

Important: Do not confuse duty to inform with Reporting requirement! Companies are starting transactions at this level only encouraged to write down the data for the process. A report only has to be done in suspected cases. Still report in particular Banks usually high cash deposits better once too much than too little that Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA).

The informationwhich companies in the wake of this Verification must have included at least for five years be kept. They are one upon request Test organ hand over.

This information must be obtained

To a To carry out the transaction, which according to the Money Laundering Act an amount of at least 15,000 euros, a company must certain dates about the business partner and the Nature of business find out and save.

According to § 4 GWG this concerns the following information:

  1. for a natural person: name, place of birth, date of birth, nationality and a residential address or, if there is no permanent place of residence with a legal residence in the European Union and the identity is verified when concluding a basic account contract [...], the postal address at who can be reached by the contractual partner as well as the person appearing to the obligated party,
  2. for a legal person or a partnership: company, name or designation, legal form, registration number if available, address of the registered office or main branch and names of the members of the representative body or the legal representatives; If a member of the representative body or the legal representative is a legal person, their company name, name or designation, legal form, registration number, if available, and the address of the registered office or the main branch are to be recorded. "

It is not enoughto refer to the information of the Business partner to leave. Banks, brokers and co. Have to respond to the Presentation of an identity card or one Extract from the commercial register exist to verify the data.

Section 9 Money Laundering Act (GWG): Internal security measures

One of the main regulations of the legal text concerns the use of a Money laundering officers. Financial companies and credit institutions, casinos and brokers of games of chance are included per se Committed, the managing director one Money laundering officers to put aside.

Other companies can too Testing bodies for the use of such an expert commit.

But which one tasks does a money laundering officer - e.g. a bank - have to fulfill? This acts as a Contact Person for the BKA. In addition monitors and secures he implements the provisions of the GWG. He wrote Risk analysis and creates internal processes that Compliance with the provisions to ensure.

Section 11 Money Laundering Act (GWG): Obligation to report to the BKA

Do companies have the Suspicionthat illegally acquired money is to be used for transactions, they must BKA or the one there Central office for suspicious activity reports - inform immediately. this applies independently on how much money is involved.

In addition, the affected transaction can only be carried out if the BKA agree or if at least two days have passed since the report.

The Federal Ministry of Finance may also define certain types of transactions at short notice, which within a certain period of time are to be reported in principle.

Penalties in accordance with the Money Laundering Act: Banks, insurance companies, brokers and the like face expensive consequences

Different authorities are responsible for the application and implementation of the GWG ensure and check. For all financial service providers, this is the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority. Lawyers, insurers, auditors, tax advisors and notaries are served by their respective Chambers checked.

The testing bodies have that Law, from the respective company information to demand

But not just rights, too Duties arise for auditing authorities. According to § 16 GWG you have to inform the company regularly updated information and suggestions for implementing the Legal regulations send.

But what if a examining body finds a violation of the Money Laundering Act? Basically apply Disregards this law as Administrative offenses. Section 17 of the Natural Gas Act states:

(2) The regulatory offense can be punished with a fine of up to one hundred thousand euros. "

But in February 2017 put the German federal government one Revision draft of the GWG, which the sanctions increased dramatically. So is a fine up to a million or that Double that gained through money laundering Income provided in the event of a simple violation.

On the other hand, if there is one persistent or repeated breach of duty before, even higher penalties should apply. Depending on, which contribution is higher the following maximum amounts should apply:

  • Five million euros
  • Ten percent of the person's annual turnover

consider it: The determination of the fines is often based on the lowest of two options. In this case it is contrary regulation intended.

example: Against the Money Laundering Act a Real estate agent violate the Retention obligation violates - so no receipts are kept to show them the Audit authority to be submitted if required.

Be amounts annual sales for example 30 million, can be the fine a maximum of 5 million be. However, if the sales are included 70 million, fall maximum 7 million fine at.

The Adaptation of the Money Laundering Act corresponds to the implementation of the fourth European money laundering directive. This must be done by June 26, 2017 in all EU member states implemented become.
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Money laundering: is your money really yours?
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