Online conference on the role of German notaries in the fight against money laundering

Natallia Borisenko (on the left), President of the Notary Chamber of Belarus; Hanna Mikhalevich (on the right, in white), Deputy Head of the Department for Notarial Services and Registry Offices at the Ministry of Justice for the Republic of Belarus (photo courtesy of the Notary Chamber of Belarus)
Natallia Borisenko (on the left), President of the Notary Chamber of Belarus; Hanna Mikhalevich (on the right, in white), Deputy Head of the Department for Notarial Services and Registry Offices at the Ministry of Justice for the Republic of Belarus (photo courtesy of the Notary Chamber of Belarus)
Belarus

On 2 July 2020, the IRZ, together with the German Federal Chamber of Notaries and the Notary Chamber of Belarus, organised an online conference on the role of notaries in the fight against money laundering in Germany. Almost 40 notaries took part in the event, some of whom were joining in small groups from various regional chambers of notaries in Brest, Grodno, Vitebsk and Minsk.

To open the conference, the President of the Notary Chamber of Belarus, Natallia Borisenko, reported on an amendment to the law, which was approved in Belarus at the start of July 2020. This amendment also regulates the supervisory powers of notaries in Belarus and their obligations with regards to money laundering. These supervisory powers on money laundering have been inspected and positively rated by the Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (EAG). In this context, the Notary Chamber of Belarus is interested in the implementation of measures to combat money laundering in Germany, in order to help them continue to develop their own internal audit and control system. During the event, which lasted almost four hours, the predominantly female audience from Belarus discussed the following topics with the German experts:

  • The relevance of money laundering for notaries and the scope of application of the law on money laundering
  • Notaries’ obligations with regards to money laundering regulations in three main areas:
    • risk management
    • customer due diligence
    • reporting of suspicions
  • Risk analysis and internal security measures within the framework of risk management
    • Duties of care: Specific risk assessment and risk factors (red flag list), identification of contractual partners and “economic beneficiaries” and due diligence obligations in the real estate business
  • Reporting obligations: Reporting to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and to the transparency register
  • Typical money laundering constellations and practical case examples

Representing the German Federal Chamber of Notaries as experts at the conference were Martin Thelen, a notary assessor and specialist in money laundering at the German Federal Chamber of Notaries, and Justizrat Richard Bock, a retired notary and chief representative of the German Federal Chamber of Notaries for international affairs. The Austrian notary Alexander Winkler provided additional information on international regulations. Until 2019, he was a member of the working group on money laundering at the International Union of Notaries (UINL), the international association of professional notary organisations using the Latin type notarial system.

The event included an active round of questions and discussions, during which examples of typical money laundering constellations were discussed from the German and Belarussian points of view. The participants also shed light on the international perspective for preventing money laundering from a Spanish, Austrian and European (EU) viewpoint. The Spanish model, presented by Martin Thelen, was met with particular interest. In Spain, the central authority for combating money laundering (Órgano Centralizado de Prevención del Blanqueo or OCP) has over the years developed a strong central database, which allows economic beneficiaries to be identified and operations relevant to money laundering to be detected.

After the event, a report was published in Russian by the Notary Chamber of Belarus, which is available here: Нотариусы Беларуси, Германии и Австрии встретились в режиме онлайн

Expert Conference in Minsk on “National constitutional law in the context of international law”

Prof. Dr. Michael Eichberger (2nd from left), a former judge at the German Federal Constitutional Court;  Dr. Matthias Hartwig, a research associate at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg; Dr. Stefan Hülshörster, Managing Director of the IRZ; Natalia Karpowitsch, Vice-President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Belarus (from left to right)
Prof. Dr. Michael Eichberger (2nd from left), a former judge at the German Federal Constitutional Court; Dr. Matthias Hartwig, a research associate at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg; Dr. Stefan Hülshörster, Managing Director of the IRZ; Natalia Karpowitsch, Vice-President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Belarus (from left to right)
Belarus

On 17 October 2019, the IRZ and the Constitutional Court of Belarus organised an expert conference in Minsk on “National constitutional law in the context of international law”. The IRZ experts taking part in the event were Prof. Dr. Michael Eichberger, a former judge at the German Federal Constitutional Court, and Dr. Matthias Hartwig, a research associate at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg. The German contributions were supplemented by short talks by Belarusian constitutional court judges.

The topics discussed at the conference were:

  • The relationship between international law and constitutional law: The role of the constitutional court in the interpretation and application of international law; international law as a criterion in constitutional court decisions
  • Hierarchy of norms, conflicts and harmonisation of laws – interpretation in compliance with international and constitutional law
  • Taking international law into account in the constitutional monitoring of national legislation and an overview of some of the recent decisions of the German Federal Constitutional Court
  • The characteristics of the rule-of-law principle and how this is supported and implemented by the Constitutional Court, as well as a presentation of the key elements of the rule-of-law principle

Attending the event were judges and heads of division from the Constitutional Court of Belarus, as well as members of the House of Representatives, the Council of the Republic, the Presidential Administration, the Court of the Eurasian Economic Union and various ministries. Academics and representatives from non-governmental organisations were also present.

The active involvement of the 55 or so participants showed that the themes chosen for the conference were of great interest. Some areas, such as the subject of constitutional complaints, also led to critical discussions with the participants.

Georgien

Conference on copyright law and copyright collectives held in Minsk

Panel for the conference on copyright law and copyright collectives, speech by IRZ Managing Director Dr. Stefan Hülshörster (centre)
Panel for the conference on copyright law and copyright collectives, speech by IRZ Managing Director Dr. Stefan Hülshörster (centre)
Belarus

On 15 March 2019, the IRZ, together with the National Centre of Intellectual Property of Belarus (NCIP), organised a conference on copyright law and copyright collectives in Minsk, Belarus. This followed on from the event on trademark and patent law, which took place in Minsk in November 2018.

The German expert speakers at the conference were Dr. Oliver Schön, a judge at the Regional Court of Munich, and Oliver Drews, a senior civil servant at the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA). The participants from Belarus included the National Centre of Intellectual Property and representatives from the Collective Management Centre at the NCIP. Also taking part in the conference were a judge from the IP Senate at the Supreme Court, lawyers specialising in copyright law, media representatives from the press and radio and people from the community who are concerned by copyright, such as photographers, designers and composers.

The German expert contributions focussed on the legal enforcement of copyright claims in Germany, which were described and discussed using practical case examples, as well as the function and activities of copyright collectives, their rights and obligations in Germany and how these are supervised by the DPMA. Short lectures by the Belarusian experts explained the copyright law in Belarus and how this is protected by the courts, as well as the structure of the collective management of copyright and how this works. Other subjects discussed included the charging of fees for private copies in Belarus and the organisational problems associated with this.

The expert lectures provided a good insight into the legal enforcement of copyright claims in Germany, the activity of copyright collectives and the supervision of these collectives. During a lively exchange between the Belarusian and German participants, sample copyright law cases from German legal practice were animatedly discussed. The scope of activity of the German association for Musical Performaning and Mechanical Reproduction Rights (GEMA) also met with great interest. The high number of participants and the very active involvement of almost all the 70 attendees were proof that the topics selected for discussion at the conference were highly topical and of great interest.