Combating Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing
Legal alert no. 160
On August 13th, 2021, it was published in “Diário da República”, Law no. 54/2021, transposing Directive (EU) 2019/1153 of the European Parliament and of the Council, dated from June 20th, 2019, laying down rules facilitating the use of financial and other information for the prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution of certain criminal offences.
This Law amended the Legal Framework of Credit Institutions and Financial Companies (LFCIFC), namely article 84-A regarding the accounts database of the Bank of Portugal, which will be immediately accessed in an unfiltered manner by the judicial authorities, the Central Department of Investigation and Penal Action (CDIPA), the Criminal Investigation Police (CIP), the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and the Asset Recovery Office (ARO).
Law no. 54/2021 provides measures to facilitate:
a) The direct and immediate access, search and use of financial and bank account information by competent authorities - judicial authorities, CDIPA, CIP and ARO - when necessary for the purposes of prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution of serious criminal offences;
b) The access to law enforcement information by FIU´s for the prevention and combating of money laundering, associate predicate offences and terrorist financing;
c) Cooperation between FIU´s.
Only those specifically designated and authorised for that purpose by each competent authority may have access to and search information on bank accounts, and all those who come into contact with the data obtained shall be under the obligation of confidentiality.
The Bank of Portugal shall be the entity responsible for adopting the technical and organisational measures to ensure data protection and for keeping a record of all accesses and searches for bank account information.
The information obtained may be exchanged between the competent authorities and the FIU, Portuguese or from different Member States of the European Union, as well as be provided to Europol, upon reasoned request and as long as the information is necessary for the prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution of certain criminal offences.
The Law no. 54/2021, August 13th, 2021 enter into force 30 days following its publication.