Online seminar on the “Prevention of money laundering in notary services”

Graphics: IRZ
Graphics: IRZ

On 9 April 2021, IRZ organised an online seminar on the “Prevention of money laundering in notary services” alongside the Notary Chamber of Montenegro and the German Federal Chamber of Notaries (BNotK). The background for this seminar was the rating of Montenegro by the European Commission as only “moderately prepared” in this area, with the law in its written form already being largely harmonised.

The event was opened by Igor Stijović, Vice-President of the Notary Chamber of Montenegro, Justizrat Richard Bock, Chief Representative of the German Federal Chamber of Notaries for international affairs, and Simon Kiunke from IRZ. Dr. Robert Weber then went on to welcome the participants on behalf of the German Embassy.

IRZ Head of Section Dr. Stefan Pürner started the event with a lecture on “IRZ support for notary services in South-East Europe”, during which he emphasised in particular the role played by notary services as a traditional continental European legal institution of the preventive administration of justice.

The main lectures at the event were:

  • “Money laundering as a criminal offence in practice” by Evica Durutović, a judge at the Higher Regional Court of Podgorica, special department for fighting organised crime and corruption
  • “The role of notaries in dealing with money laundering” by Dr. Andreas Bernert, a notary assessor at the German Federal Chamber of Notarie
  • “The prevention of money laundering in notarial practice” by Dr. Lovro Tomasic, a notary and representative of international affairs at the German Federal Chamber of Notaries.

The event established that Montenegro has largely implemented the EU legal framework, which means there are many similarities between the applicable legal provisions in the two countries. This ensured that the information provided about experiences in Germany was all the more relevant for the Montenegrin participants.

The many examples of standard cases in which there was a suspicion of money laundering were also helpful. Based on cases from judicial practice in Montenegro, it became clear that the investigation authorities there frequently do not investigate complaints of money laundering with sufficient thoroughness. Unlike in Germany, lawyers in Montenegro have a privileged position over notaries with regards to their reporting obligations as professionals providing legal advice.