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Offences

Legal definition

How are ‘money laundering’, ‘terrorism financing’ and ‘fraud’ legally defined in your jurisdiction?

Law 4557/2018 is the main anti-money laundering law. Article 2 of the law defines ‘money laundering’ as:

  • knowingly converting and transferring property assets that are the proceeds of crime, participating in such an act for the purposes of concealing the illegal sources of such assets or aiding anyone involved in said acts in order to help them avoid legal penalties;
  • concealing and covering up the truth, by any means, in relation to the source, movement, disposal of assets, the place of acquiring such assets or asset-related rights or knowledge that a property is associated with the proceeds of criminal acts or participation in criminal activities; 
  • acquiring, possessing, managing or using any asset with the knowledge that at the time of possession or management such property was the proceeds of a criminal activity;
  • using the financial sector by depositing or transferring proceeds of criminal activities for the purposes of making it appear as though they have legitimate sources;
  • forming a group or organisation for the purposes of committing one or more of the abovementioned actions; or
  • participation in, association to commit, attempt to commit and aiding, abetting, facilitating and counselling the commission of any of the abovementioned actions.

According to Article 187B(6) of the Criminal Code, ‘terrorism financing’ is providing any kind of financial assets (tangible or intangible, movable or immovable) or any kind of economic means, to a terrorist organisation or a terrorist to form a terrorist organisation or convince someone to become a terrorist.

Under Article 386 of the Criminal Code, fraud is perpetrated by an individual enriching itself or a third party by knowingly representing untrue facts as true or illegally concealing or suppressing true facts to persuade another party to act or omit to act, thus causing pecuniary damage. The party’s intent to enrich itself or a third party is required.

Principal and secondary offences

What are the principal and secondary offences in relation to money laundering, terrorism financing and fraud?

Law 4557/2018 is the main anti-money laundering law. Article 2 of the law defines ‘money laundering’ as:

  • knowingly converting and transferring property assets that are the proceeds of crime, participating in such an act for the purposes of concealing the illegal sources of such assets or aiding anyone involved in said acts in order to help them avoid legal penalties;
  • concealing and covering up the truth, by any means, in relation to the source, movement, disposal of assets, the place of acquiring such assets or asset-related rights or knowledge that a property is associated with the proceeds of criminal acts or participation in criminal activities; 
  • acquiring, possessing, managing or using any asset with the knowledge that at the time of possession or management such property was the proceeds of a criminal activity;
  • using the financial sector by depositing or transferring proceeds of criminal activities for the purposes of making it appear as though they have legitimate sources;
  • forming a group or organisation for the purposes of committing one or more of the abovementioned actions; or
  • participation in, association to commit, attempt to commit and aiding, abetting, facilitating and counselling the commission of any of the abovementioned actions.

These acts are punishable by a custodial sentence ranging from five to 20 years.

Article 187B(6) of the Criminal Code stipulates that the act of providing any kind of financial assets (tangible or intangible, movable or immovable) or any kind of economic means, to a terrorist organisation or a terrorist to form a terrorist organisation or convince someone to become a terrorist is punishable by a custodial sentence of up to 10 years.

Under Article 386 for the Criminal Code, fraud is perpetrated by an individual enriching itself or a third party by knowingly representing untrue facts as true or by illegally concealing or suppressing true facts to persuade another party to act or omit to act, thus causing pecuniary damage. The party’s intent to enrich an individual or a third party is required. Fraud is punishable by a custodial sentence of up to 10 years, which can be substantially increased in aggravating circumstances, especially when it is directed against the state’s financial interests.

Predicate offences

How are predicate offences defined?

Article 4 of Law 4557/2018 contains a list of predicate offences for money laundering. The list contains all forms of classic corruption and property-related offences, namely:

  • bribing domestic public officials;
  • bribing foreign or EU officials;
  • fraud;
  • tax evasion and tax fraud;
  • capital market offences, including offences related to insider trading;
  • antiquities trafficking;
  • environmental offences;
  • drug trafficking;
  • people trafficking;
  • organised crime; and
  • terrorism financing.

Tax evasion is also listed as a predicate offence. Moreover, the list contains a general provision according to which any offence that results in assets or property and is punishable by law with a minimum of six months imprisonment may be considered a predicate offence. In other words, all criminal activities that produce money or asset gains or profits are considered to be predicate offences. The list of predicate offences is non-exhaustive, as it leaves room for any type of criminal behaviour that results in profit, even if it is of lesser to medium importance (it also includes misdemeanours punishable by imprisonment of less than one year).

De minimis rules

What de minimis rules apply to money laundering, terrorism financing and fraud offences?

Money laundering requires that a natural person acts in the knowledge of the criminal source of the assets and for the purposes of concealing or covering up their true origin. Therefore, there is no room for negligently committing a punishable act of money laundering.

Terrorism financing requires that assets are transferred in the knowledge that they will be used by  a terrorist or terrorist organisation.

Fraud requires that a person is misled by misrepresentations to act or omit to act, thus causing pecuniary damage. The perpetrator of the offence must act with intent to enrich itself or a third party.

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