Attention: possible changes to the Money Laundering Law

A debate started this month through public hearings on the drafting of a preliminary bill of law of the possible reform of the Money Laundering Law (Law No. 9,613 / 98, amended by Law 12,683 / 2012). The revision of the legislation will be incumbent on a commission formed by legal scholars and representatives of the Judiciary and the public attorney office, which will be chaired by the Minister of the Superior Court of Justice (STJ), Reynaldo Soares da Fonseca.

The main objective is to explore alternatives for greater efficiency in the use of resources and the application of preventive measures for sectorial market risks.

An important issue to be analyzed by the commission will be the possibility of including criteria not yet addressed by the Money Laundering Law, but already requested by financial institutions and in due diligence processes. An example of such criteria is the obligation to identify the final beneficiaries and people that are politically exposed.

The debate on possible changes to the law – seeking an expansion in the list of obligations and strengthen preventive measures – reinforces the idea of the implementation of stricter internal control systems in companies. Thus the importance of compliance programs to enable more effective control and inspection over improper conduct and financial crimes.

In addition to preventing any illegal activities, compliance programs implemented in companies are treated in M&A transactions as a strong indication of suitability. The greater the rigidity of internal controls, the greater the company’s ability to fulfill the obligations provided for in the legislation; and the lower the risk of liability for any illegal acts committed by its employees (including money laundering practices, against the National Financial System and others related to corruption). Thus, it is urgent for partners / shareholders and administrators to seek the necessary means for structuring an adequate compliance program to be implemented in those companies that do not yet have one.

Finally, it remains for us to await the changes that will be proposed to the current Money Laundering Law to better analyze the impacts on the day-to-day lives of companies.

By Luiza Martinez, lawyer at Candido Martins Advogados