Bill on financial economic crime to Parliament

There will be higher punishments for money laundering and corruption. This is clear from a bill submitted to Parliament by Minister Opstelten of Security and Justice.  The penalisation of abuse of public money (subsidies) is also extended. The maximum penalty for companies will furthermore be made subject to their annual turnover in future.

In order to be able to tackle criminal gains harder and more effectively, the minister raises the maximum penalties for the different types of money laundering.  The maximum penalty for the bare "crime" is raised from four to six years imprisonment. If the money laundering is habitual or part of exercising a profession, the prison sentence will be max. eight years.

The Cabinet further commits heavily to maintaining integrity in the public sector. Bribing civil servants will be punished in future with a maximum prison sentence of six years. Also the sentence for corruption in the private sector will go up – from two to four years. In this way the scope of the penalisation of bribery in the private sector will be extended. Cases are concerned for instance, in which service providers such as accountants and appraisers are bribed to overlook embezzlement or to give an incorrect value for realestate.

The prison sentence for economic offenders who systematically duck the rules will go up to max. four years. Waste processing companies for instance which repeatedly ignore environmental regulations, or fraudulent financial institutions. They distort the competition with businesses which do comply with the rules and often cause large social damage.

The bill also contains further measures to engage into combat with financial economic crime. The maximum penalty legal persons can get when they are guilty of offences will be linked to their financial capacity from now on. The current fines often do not terribly impress rich companies. The court will therefore be able to impose larger fines: to max. ten percent of the annual turnover of the company.

Finally, the procedure is speeded up to assess whether lawyers or notaries rightfully claim their right of non-disclosure at a seizure as part of a criminal investigation. Investigations of financial economical crime will run into fewer delays, if at for instance a seizure of a fraudulent company's accounts, correspondence with lawyers or notaries is found.

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