On 1 August 2008 the "Wet ter voorkoming van witwassen en financieren van terrorisme" (law for the prevention of money laundering and the financing of terrorism) (WWFT) has come into effect. The WWFT contains both an obligation to research clients and an obligation to notify the authorities in case of unusual transactions, for instance possible money laundering. The legal obligation to identify clients and the notification of unusual transactions to the authorities (the Financial Intelligence Unit – Netherlands, formerly Meldpunt Ongebruikelijke Transacties) is of concern for the notarial practice as a whole, except family and inheritance law. 

At the start of a service, identification will take place in the following ways:

  • Dutch legal persons will be identified using an authentic extract from the trade register or a notarial deed.
  • Foreign legal persons will be identified using an extract from the trade register in the country of origin or any other document that is commonly used in international trade and which is certified as a valid means of identification in the country of origin.
  • Natural persons will be identified through their passports.

Foreign clients who can be considered to be politically exposed persons require additional research. The representatives and, with exceptions, the ultimate beneficial owners of Dutch and foreign legal persons also need to be identified. The ultimate beneficial owner is the natural person who, directly or indirectly, owns more than 25% of the client or has otherwise control over it.