Anti-money laundering checks
All employees involved in the day-to-day business of the law centre should be aware of the policies and procedures in place in their law centre to prevent money laundering and all staff should be aware of their obligations in relation to the law governing money laundering. Failure to comply with the anti-money laundering obligations may be a criminal offence.
- Solicitors / the Board are required to take measures to identify new clients and maintain records of their identity and also to apply other Client Due Diligence (CDD) procedures including the ongoing monitoring of the business relationship;
- The Board is required to have internal procedures for staff training and awareness;
- Solicitors are required to report suspicious transactions to the Garda Síochana and Revenue – Irish Tax and Customs.
There are a number of significant exemptions for solicitors. (see è Circular on Legal Services).
Identity of applicant
It is important to identify each person by reference to their name and place of residence.
The following forms of identification are acceptable:-
- current Passport (Irish or International), including a passport card;
- current photo card driving licence;
- current National Identity Card;
- current Identification form with photo signed by a member of the Gardaí (ML10);
- Public Services Card issued by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
social welfare card with photo ID;
- GNIB card accompanied by letter from Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration (signed and stamped); and
- National Age Card (free of charge for social welfare recipients).
The current permanent address of the applicant should be verified by seeking a current original of any of the following:-
- current documentation/cards issued by Revenue showing the name of the person and their PPSN;
- current documentation/cards issued by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection showing the name of the person and their PPSN;
- instrument of a court appointment (such as liquidator, or grant of probate);
- current local authority document e.g. refuse collection bill, water charge bill (including those printed from the internet);
- current bank statements, or credit/debit card statements, issued by a regulated financial sector designated person in Ireland, the EU or comparable jurisdiction (including those printed from the internet);
- current utility bills (including those printed from the internet);
- current household/motor insurance certificate and renewal notice; and
- medical card for over 18s with intellectual disability.
A copy of any documents used by applicants to verify their identity and place of residence must be copied and placed on the client’s file, along with the completed Identify Verification Form contained in this Chapter.
It should be remembered that the underlying purpose of the identification requirements is to prevent the commission of a money laundering offence. There should be no possible exposure in relation to cases that do not have a financial aspect to them. The Board has therefore determined that it is not necessary to seek to establish the identity of persons seeking legal services for the following matters:-
- child care;
- child abduction;
- custody and access matters;
- applications for international protection;
- “rape” cases, where legal aid is being granted in relation to the prior sexual history of the complainant or legal advice is being given on foot of Section 26(3)(b) of the Civil Legal Aid Act 1995;
- cases involving applications for a sex offenders order; or
- any other case which does not have a financial or property element to it.
If an applicant does not have a form of ID listed above, when it is required at application stage, a note should be made of this and passed on to the solicitor assigned to the case in order for the solicitor to satisfy themselves at the first consultation that anti-money laundering obligations in the particular case has been met. Failure to satisfy the anti-money laundering requirements does not of itself prevent the application for legal services being regarded as fully complete and being placed on the applications record but may render the solicitor unable to proceed with the first consultation if it is not completed by that stage.
Procedure 3.7 – How to verify an applicant’s identity
- The cover letter in Procedure 3.2 will have made reference to the forms of photo ID and proof of address necessary for the client to submit.
- In EOS, generate an Identity Verification Form and check the forms of ID submitted against those allowed.
- If the forms of identification match, save the Identity Verification Form. A note should be attached to the application, in a prominent position, advising the solicitor or paralegal to verify the client’s identity at the first consultation, should they prove eligible for legal services.
- If the forms of identification are not acceptable, the application can be returned to the applicant with the list of acceptable forms of identification and the applicant asked to re-submit the application. In the event the applicant is unable to provide ID, or the ID is not within those allowed, explain to the applicant that you will proceed with the application for legal services, but he/she will need to provide Photo ID and proof of address at the first consultation stage and attach a note to that effect to the application.
Application in person
- Prior to the applicant’s attendance, print a copy of the Identity Verification Form. Inform the client about the process of applying for legal services and the need to obtain identification.
- Ask the applicant for Photo ID and proof of address.
- If the applicant provides same, check the forms of ID provided against those allowed.
- In the event the applicant is unable to provide ID, or the ID is not within those allowed, explain to the applicant that you will proceed with the application for legal services, but he/she will need to provide Photo ID and proof of address at the first consultation stage and attach a note to that effect to the application.
Take copies of the ID and return the originals to the applicant. Complete the Identity Verification Form and scan it into EOS.
In the event that the applicant provides Photo ID which clearly does not relate to themselves, politely advise the applicant of the requirement to provide correct photo ID to the Board. If necessary terminate the appointment. Place a note on the file detailing what transpired and advise your managing solicitor.
Complete the “Complete anti-money laundering check” milestone in EOS
It is the responsibility of the Money Laundering Reporting Officer (at present, this role is held by Thomas O’Mahony, Regional Manager) to ensure that the legislative requirements in relation to identifying clients, retaining files, training staff, and having a reporting system in place, are met. For this reason spot checks are carried out to ensure that clients are being appropriately identified. An Information Leaflet is available to all staff and applicants.