We presents the area of financial criminal law in which the law firm Bélot Malan & Associés Paris is specialized, through a summary presentation of the criminal offence of money-laundering.

About financial law

Financial law is a part of business law dedicated to the financial sphere, which includes corporate finance and market finance. In the broad sense, the terms banking and financial law are used to refer to this matter. Banking law designates set of regulations governing the activities carried out as usual profession by credit institutions.

In a broader sense, this field includes insurance law and public financial law, which studies the actions of central banks and public authorities in the financial field.

As finance lawyers Bélot Malan & Associés Paris is specialised in financial criminal law, which is defined as the set of criminal rules specific to financial law and the financial sphere. Our lawyers strive to defend the best interests of their clients, particularly with regard to financial crimes. In this respect, one of the main offences is money-laundering.

Money-laundering general definition

In the French criminal code, money-laundering is defined by article 324-1 in two aspects:

  • Facilitating the false justification of the origin of properties or income of the offender of a profitable crime: all property components of the offender, movable and immovable, tangible or intangible, divided or undivided, may be affected by this offense as well as documents establishing a title or a right on property.
  • Facilitating a false justification (forged invoice, juggling accounts…), even uncompleted or incomplete. False justification usually takes the form of falsified documents but it can be committed by false testimony and trough shell companies.

Non-justification of resources

A close offence to money-laundering is the non-justification of resources, provided by article 321-6 al. 1 of the French criminal code.

This offence requires the reunion of two elements:

  • Usual relations with one or more persons engaged in illegal activities in one hand, and
  • Standard of living or origin of property non-justified in regard to the offender’s resources on the other.

Facilitating the justification of fictitious resources for offenders

Article 326-1 al. 2 provides the offence of facilitating the justification of fictitious resources for persons committing crimes punished by at least five years’ imprisonment.

The justification is deceptive because it legalises fictitious income from criminal activities. In order to constitute the offence, the evidence of guilty mind must be brought:

  • The offender legalising proceeds of crime must be aware of the wrongdoing, when committing the material act, and
  • The offender must be aware of the criminal nature of the activities carried out by the beneficiary of the legalisation.

Therefore, a close proximity between the offender and the beneficiary must be establish so as to prove that those involved knew each other’s illegal activities.