Government-wide measures to combat circulation of illegal money in Netherlands

Confiscate and Cut off: that is the approach that the Dutch government has in mind for its nation-wide measures to combat the circulation of illegal money

At the request of the House of Representatives, a description has been provided, for the first time ever, of the work that needs to be done at national level to combat the circulation of illegal money and to renew people’s faith in a reliable economic system.

The intensification of methods to tackle financial-economic crime will include assessing whether authorities and sanctions can be extended. In connection with this, a bill to expand the possibilities for combating financial-economic crime was recently sent to, among others, the Public Prosecution Service and the Council for the Judiciary, so that these bodies could provide advice on the matter.

On the basis of this bill, a fine can be imposed on companies that do not observe the rules; a fine of up to a maximum of ten percent of the annual turnover of such companies can be demanded. The bill also includes more severe penalties for money laundering and corruption, and makes the misuse of community money a criminal offence. This proposal is also intended to ensure that perpetrators of economic crimes who repeatedly break the law will receive a more severe punishment.

The bill aims to increase the sentence for money laundering from 4 to 6 years imprisonment. The proposal also includes a new qualified form of money laundering, which would apply to cases whereby people misuse their professional position to carry out money laundering activities (such as tax consultants, lawyers and bankers).

Around 80 percent of the illegal money (it is assumed that approximately €18.5 billion is laundered in the Netherlands every year) comes from fraud. Well over €4.5 billion in illegal money was confiscated on a nation-wide level in 2011.