The tightening of controls in the financial sector has prompted money launderers to seek other methods for concealing the origin of proceeds of crime. In particular, there is a trend towards the increased use by money launderers of non-financial business.
On June 3 2004 the government submitted a bill to parliament regarding stricter rules against money laundering. The bill is part of the implementation of EC Directive 2001/97/EC (December 4 2001) amending Council Directive 91/308/EEC on prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering (the Directive). The Act (1993:768) on Measures against Money Laundering (the Act) contains the principal provisions regarding rules against money laundering. These provisions originate from the EC directive of 1991. The bill will lead to a number of new provisions in the Act.
The government proposes that the obligations on customer identification, record keeping and reporting suspicious transactions shall also apply to companies conducting mutual fund operations and certain natural and legal persons operating outside the financial sector. These persons include independent legal professionals, approved public accountants and chartered accountants, tax advisers, real estate agents, casinos, and dealers in high-value goods, such as antiques, works of art, precious stones, metals and means of transport. In relation to legal professionals it is, however, proposed that the Act shall only apply when a legal professional is assisting clients, and in some cases acting on behalf of and for a client, in certain financial, real estate and corporate transactions (see Article 2a of the Directive). It is further proposed that legal professionals, accountants and tax advisers will be exempted from reporting suspicious transactions when representing a client in legal proceedings. Furthermore, legal professionals that are members of the Swedish Bar Association and their assistants will be exempted from reporting suspicious transactions in relation to information they obtain when ascertaining a client's legal position.
Lastly, stricter requirements are proposed to apply under the Act in relation to identification procedures when establishing business relations or entering into a transaction with a customer who is not physically present.
The government proposes that the new legislation enter into force on January 1 2005. It is expected that the bill will be decided by the Swedish parliament at the end of November 2004.