Belgium issues new law on anti-money laundering

Belgium issues new law on anti-money laundering transposing the fourth EU Directive and implementing the FATF recommendations.
The Belgian State Gazette published on Friday 6 October 2017 the law of 18 September 2017 preventing money laundering and financing of terrorism and limiting the use of cash (the”Law”). The Law replaces the law of 11 January 1993 and introduces several changes into the Belgian AML regime, mainly concerning the introduction of a register of beneficial owners, the risk-based approach, whistle-blowing and increased sanctions.
The Law aims at transposing Directive 2015/849 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing (the “Fourth Directive”) and to implement the FATF recommendations.
To clarify the Belgian regime and make it more readable, the Parliament decided to repeal the law of 11 January 1993 (the “1993 Law”). However, the major principles underlying the Belgian anti-money laundering system have been maintained.
A new legal initiative may however quickly be required, as a fifth AML Directive is in preparation at EU level.
Further clarifications are expected from a Royal Decree and FSMA or NBB regulations, such as on the concrete working of the register of beneficial owner or the whistle-blowing regime.