Legal obligations for Belgian diamond traders
Belgian anti-money laundering legislation
The Belgian diamond trade became subject to AML/TF legislation in 2004 and joined many other sectors such as financial institutions, notaries, lawyers, accountants, etc..
The AML rules and regulations for the diamond trade were comprised in a Royal Decree of 2006 and updated recently in a Royal Decree of October 7th 2013 and go beyond what is required on EU level and by FATF guidelines:
• Every Belgian diamond trader must identify his clients, suppliers (only if cash transaction) and ultimate beneficiaries and must verify their identity. Registered diamond traders can make use of the database www.registereddiamondcompanies.be for the purpose of identification within Belgium.
• Every Belgian diamond trader must in some cases perform intensified client investigation measures and use at all times a client acceptance policy
• Every Belgian diamond trader must notify the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of any suspicious transactions.
• Every Belgian diamond trader must complete an annual AML activity report and submit it to the supervising authority of the diamond trade, the FPS Economy. This report contains information on the diamond traders’ identification and verification activities and reports on any suspicious transactions.
• Every Belgian diamond trader must appoint an anti-money laundering officer who ensures that the company complies with the AML/TF regulations
It is important to note that the identification and verification process must take place before the transaction and even in case of payment by bank transfer (which goes beyond the FATF guidelines and EU law).
The FPS Economy carries out inspections of registered diamond traders to monitor the application of their legal obligations regarding AML/TF. This means the Belgian diamond traders must be able to prove that they have adequately identified and verified their clients. Effective monitoring of cash payments is also done by means of regular spot checks including presentation of their accounts. Failure to comply is regarded as an offence and will lead to a summons being issued.
AML & Compliance helpdesk
To support the Belgian diamond traders with their obligations AWDC has set up an AML & Compliance help desk. The help desk is available to Belgian diamond traders for practical information, hands-on assistance and training. The various activities of the help desk are:
Distribute newsletters on compliance topics (for example cash limits). The information contained in the Newsletter is also available on the AWDC website.
Monthly AML & Compliance trainings (certified by the FPS Economy): The law requires you to stay updated with the AML legislation. Therefore, AWDC organizes seminars on a monthly basis with the latest updates on the AML obligations. After having attended a seminar, you obtain an attendance certificateIn case you would be subject to an administrative control by the Licensing Service of the Federal Public Service Economy, the certificate proves that you attended a seminar. It is therefore definitely wise to keep this certificate at handAWDC recommends that you attend an AML seminar every year to stay updated
The set-up of a dedicated contact person to pursue awareness-raising and to give assistance with reporting of suspicious transactions (STR’s) which has led to a significant increase of STR’s to the Belgian FIU since January 2015.
Assistance to the diamond trader with completing its AML annual activity report
AWDC has initiated the process to review and improve the risk analysis of the diamond trade. As one of the pioneering industries in Belgium, the diamond trade developed its own risk analysis in 2013, in collaboration with the FPS Economy. This is now being reviewed and information from all stakeholders – as well from the private trade as from all relevant government authorities – will be requested and integrated.
AWDC offers a free Know Your Customer (KYC) database to all Belgian diamond traders. The data is delivered though an external provider (Bureau Van Dijk) and comprises identification details (including shareholder structures, beneficiaries and names of directors, etc.) for 250 million companies worldwide, as well as various sanctions lists, Politically Exposed Persons lists, FATF high risk countries lists and a list of Kimberley Process participants. The database will also screen according to specific risks pertaining to the diamond trade. This tool will help diamond traders to verify information received from clients and also provides better insight into the potential risks that come with the transaction and/or business relation (see the chapter on Database Bureau Van Dijk)
AWDC in cooperation with the FPS Economy and the Belgian FIU has drafted a standard Client Acceptance Policy that can be used by the Belgian diamond traders. AWDC has also been actively involved in the preparatory process of the FATF Mutual Evaluation Report of Belgium (2015) and is now taking the necessary measures to implement the recommendations and suggestions of FATF in the framework of the enhanced follow-up procedure. For example the renewal of the registration requirements of Belgian diamond traders (see here under).
Anti-money laundering annual report
All Belgian diamond traders must submit an annual anti-money laundering activity report to the Licence Service of the Federal Public Service Economy which is the competent federal government authority in Belgium for the supervision of the implementation of the anti-money laundering legislation for the Belgian diamond traders.
This annual report must contain all activities of the diamond trader with regard to its anti-money laundering obligations- For instance if he/she applied all identification and verification procedures, made use of the client acceptance policy, educated its personnel with regards to Anti-oney laundering.
At the start of each year, the License Service of the Federal Public Service Economy notifies each diamond trader in writing of its obligation to submit the anti-money laundering report.
A template of the Anti-money laundering report can be found on the website of AWDC https://www.awdc.be/en/aml-declaration-0 or via the website of the License Service of the Federal Public Service Economy (http://economie.fgov.be/nl/ondernemingen/specifieke_domeinen/Diamant/).
Since January 2016, it is also possible to submit the AML-form online via the website www.registereddiamondcompanies.be . Contact the FPS Economy via Daniel.email@example.com or 02/277.99.24 in order to get your login details and contact the AML & Compliance helpdesk for help to complete the form online 03/222.05.03
Suspicious transaction reporting
The Belgian registered diamond trader is obliged to notify suspicious transactions or facts related to money laundering or terrorist financing to the Belgian Financial Intelligence Processing Unit (CFI) or alternatively the diamond trader can contact the Special Point of Contact in the diamond sector for suspicious transaction reporting to give assistance or to answer any questions you may have : 03/222 05 00 or via e-mail Stephan.Van.Hauwe@awdc.be.