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