On 31 January 2018 the Czech government adopted an amendment of the Criminal Act and the Criminal Procedure Code (the “Amendment”). The Amendment removes the criminal offences of Sharing (s. 214) and Sharing out of Negligence (s. 215), and makes such crimes fall under the crime of Money Laundering (s. 217).

Due to the multiple sections of the Criminal Act which deal with money laundering issues, the definition of money laundering is currently fragmented. This has attracted a substantial amount of criticism from the international community for impeding effective sanctions and international cooperation.

The Amendment clearly outlines the types of criminal conduct which are considered as money laundering by international agreements. It also provides new definitions of the terms ‘tool of a criminal activity’ and ‘proceeds of a criminal activity’. It explicitly states that the regulation will apply if proceeds are either direct or indirect.

Other noteworthy aspects of the Amendment include the introduction of criminal liability for an indirect promise or request of a bribe. In practice, this means that a person will still be held liable if they provide, offer or promise a bribe, or request, accept a promise or accept a bribe via a third person.

The Amendment also introduces a new crime of Obstructing Justice (s. 347a). This crime primarily deals with situations where there has been a submission of falsified or altered evidence or instigation of criminal offences of false accusation or false testimony etc.

In addition, the Amendment enshrines the right for enforcement authorities to store data saved in a computer system or on a data carrier for the purposes of criminal proceedings.

The Amendment is to be discussed before Parliament. Approval from the Chambers of Deputies and the Senate is still required. We will closely monitor any further developments.