The Panama Papers and Paradise Papers scandals resulted in the closure of Mossack and Fonseca, and the placement of Appleby under the harsh glare of public disapproval. Issues of money laundering, the facilitation of criminal tax evasion, and the aiding and abetting of the proceeds of corruption swirling around the exposure of lawyers engaged in rendering borderline dodgy "offshore" legal advice may have consequences not previously contemplated
The European Union seems to have had enough; Will the European Parliament recommendations now be implemented, and thereby actually curtail the attorney-client (solicitor-client) privilege, to suppress illegal attorney activities ? Here is a summary of what is on the table:
(1) Require that the reporting of a suspicious transaction or other potentially illegal activities trump the attorney-client privilege.
(2) Require that lawyers who are involved in activity that falls outside lawyer's specific duties of criminal defense, legal representation or legal advice should be required, in some cases, to report certain information.
(3) Hold lawyers legally responsible for designing not only tax evasion schemes, but also aggressive tax plans that are punishable by law.
(4) Advise EU governments to issue guidance on the interpretation and application of legal privilege.
These recommendations could result in European courts ordering international lawyers based in the EU to disclose information about their dodgy clients, and the sordid methods they employed to hide their dirty money.
Chronicles of Monte Friesner - Financial Crime Analyst
Contributed by Kenneth Rijock - Financial Crime Consultant