Law amending the Luxembourg criminal law framework in relation to money laundering

On 20 December 2021, the law of 17 December 2021 (the “Law”) was published in the Official Journal of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg. The Law aims at partially implementing EU directive 2018/1673 on combating money laundering by criminal law. The Law notably amends the Criminal Code as well as the Criminal Procedure Code by introducing new measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing from a criminal law perspective.

One of the most significant changes of the Law relates to professionals subject to the law of 12 November 2004 on the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing, as amended. More specifically, the Law introduces an aggravating circumstance under Article 506-5 of the Criminal Code, leading to the applicability of more severe criminal sanctions, where the money laundering offences were carried out by a professional in the context of its professional activity.

Furthermore, the Law amends Article 506-8 of the criminal Code, setting out the principle that in order to prosecute a perpetrator of an act of money laundering, it will not be necessary to establish all facts or circumstances relating to the underlying primary offence, including the identity of the perpetrator of the underlying primary offence.

Finally, the Law also amends Article 5-1 of the Luxembourg Criminal Procedure Code and will allow for the prosecution of the perpetrator of a money laundering offence in front of Luxembourg courts, even where the underlying primary offence has been committed abroad, such offence is not subject to criminal sanctions in the relevant foreign jurisdiction (thus creating an exception to the principle of “dual criminality” set out under Article 506-3 of the Criminal Code), and has been carried out by a foreigner who is not a Luxembourg resident or has not been found in Luxembourg.

A bill of law is currently being discussed in Parliament which aims at finalising the implementation of EU Directive 2018/1673. This bill of law will notably extend the definition of money laundering offences from a criminal law perspective.

Please do not hesitate to contact one of our experts for any questions on the above.

Aurélia Viémont, Luxembourg Senior Counsel | Avocat à la Cour

Sarah Hantscher, Luxembourg Managing Associate | Avocat

Mélanie Poirrier, Associate, Luxembourg