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Liability of legal persons: better late than never but problems remain

The Luxembourg government met last 4 September 2008 and approved of the draft law to introduce in the positive law the liability of legal persons as requested by the OECD. This is a good thing. Better late than never But I do think that like any sensitive text, the draft law should be emptied in the debate prior to the vote before the parliament. Last year Minister of Justice Luc Frieden confirmed before professionals he was ready go give up international Recs : "Should a large financial center like ours exaggerate or be more lax with the risk of a couple of scandals. Yes we may have exaggerated some procedures but this was a general trend in Europe. I hope we have not done badly at that is still possible to go backward. I am ready to give up some requirements"

Additionally like for AML legislation, it is no use voting texts to comply on the paper with international Recs while not enforcing them because of the "System" that hushes up or condones issues because it is a "corruption catalyst".

That is the reason why despite the new text, strong weaknesses in the fight against corruption remain, which requires a will for complementary measures to ensure that the fight against corruption is not a charade in the country :

1) Implement other OECD and GRECO Recs to prevent corruption and ensure legislation is acually enforced.

2) Fight the "system". The consequence of the "system" is that in most cases dishonest professionals never quit the business so the principle of professional standing as stated strictly in the law is not implemented. This is the post difficult thing because of the small size that creates situations of conflicts of interest. It is everyone's responsibility to repudiate every professional that do not comply with the requirements of professional standing as stated strictly in the law: every guarantee of irreproachable conduct (larger than the reasonable assurance, larger than licit).

3) Communicate on issues. Leaders in Luxembourg must be aware that only dishonest professional may fear transparency. Transparency is very important to ensure ethics in the business. It is not normal for a center like Luxembourg, which boasts such an important financial sector that big four like PwC and E&Y do not participate to studies of their brand relating to economic crime and/or corruption. As far as the CSSF is concerned, it should communicate like the FSA in the UK, which would have a salutary dissuasive effect.

4) Authorise only registered professionals in Luxembourg to certify the accounts (members of the IRE or the OEC) and prohibit dubious professionals to certify the accounts (bogus firms from BVI, Isle of Man, Seychelles...)

5) And above all accept opinions that are critics. The stake is to avoid that the center become zombie because it would have "created an insulated culture that systematically excludes any information that could contradict its reigning picture of reality".

There is today a question of credibility for everyone: In 2002 Luc Frieden stated before the IMF that "Personally, I have no doubt that my country can lead by example in promoting good governance, in fighting against the financing of terrorism and against money laundering, and in actively promoting development policies". In 2002 as well the government communicated that "Luxembourg is a founding member of the European Union and the Council of Europe and, in this capacity, implements all laws governing banking and financial activity, the fight against money laundering and financial crime as well as judicial cooperation on criminal matters. Far from hindering the fight against money laundering, Luxembourg was one of the first countries to adopt measures in order to fight against money laundering in 1989 and has continued to improve upon these measures ever since. Luxembourg cooperates fully at international level and is an active member of FATF (Financial Action Task Force), a body specializing in the fight against money laundering which, in its last evaluation report, testified that Luxembourg respected all its recommendations in full. Luxembourg will continue to work on perfecting European legislation regarding financial crime and the resources required to ensure its implementation."

What about the findings of OECD or GRECO reports on corruption since 2002 that includes items relating to AML and what is written in the reports or opinions from the Luxembourg FIU ?

I am afraid they they are useless since the FATF condone them by accepting a "generous grant" from Luxembourg.

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06:25 Posted in Luxembourg | Permalink | Comments (0)

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