Anti-money Laundering

Last verified on Monday 13th November 2023

Anti-money Laundering : Spain

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Money laundering

1. What laws in your jurisdiction prohibit money laundering?

Spain

Spanish legislation regulates money laundering in article 301 of the Spanish Criminal Code (SCC), which involves interactions with assets whose origin derives from an unlawful situation with the objective of hiding its unlawful origin. The precept extends to both situations committed by the individual him or herself or by third parties, as well as to any kind of encumbrances on the real property of the assets.

Furthermore, Law 10/2010 of 28 April of 2010 on prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing and the Royal Decree 304/2014, of 5 May 2014, which transposed Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and Council of 26 October 2005 on prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing are aimed to detect and prevent money laundering. In order to do so, this legislation requires preventive compliance measures for obliged entities in relation with money laundering.

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2. What must the government prove to establish a criminal violation of the money laundering laws?

Spain

To establish a criminal violation of the money laundering laws the following elements must be proven:

  • The criminal origin of the assets: According to the Spanish Supreme Court (STS 677/2019, 2nd Criminal Chamber, 23 January) conviction for a money laundering offence does not require a prior conviction for the predicate offence. It is enough to establish that the money comes from a criminal activity that must be specified at least minimally. Indicators are generally the only possible means to prove its commission. According to the Supreme Court, the most relevant indications are (STS 801/2010, 2nd Criminal Chamber, 23 September of 2010):
    • the importance of the amount of money laundered;
    • the link of the perpetrators with illicit activities or with groups or persons related to them;
    • the unusual or disproportionate nature of the subject’s increase in wealth;
    • the nature and characteristics of the economic operations carried out, for example, with the use of large amounts of cash;
    • the lack of lawful justification of the income that allows these operations to be carried out.
    • the weakness of the explanations of the lawful origin of this capital; and
    • the existence of "front" companies or financial networks that are not based on demonstrably lawful economic activities".
  • An interaction with those assets, which can consist of acquiring, possessing, using or transferring them, knowing that they have their origin in a criminal activity, or of performing any other act to hide its unlawful origin or to help the person who has participated in the infraction to avoid the legal consequences of his or her actions.
  • The intention to hide the criminal origin of the assets.
  • Wilful misconduct or gross negligence.

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3. What are the predicate offences to money laundering? Do they include foreign crimes and tax offences?

Spain

Law 15/2003 of 25 of November amends the Penal Code of 1995. This constitutes a significant change since the reform broadened once more the list of predicate offences for money laundering. Whereas in 1995 only serious offences (which already consisted of an extensive list of crimes) were relevant as predicate offences, after 2003 any offence from the Penal Code could lead to a prosecution for money laundering.

Nowadays, article 301.4 SCC specifically states that foreign crimes will be considered predicate offences in the prosecution of money loundering.

Regarding tax offences, the Spanish Supreme Court stated in its Ruling 974/2012, of 5 December, that tax offences can be considered predicate offences to money laundering, although most scholars disagree with this case law.

Therefore, both offences and foreign crimes could be considered as predicate offences to money laundering.

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4. Is there extraterritorial jurisdiction for violations of your jurisdiction’s money laundering laws?

Spain

Yes, pursuant to article 301.4 SCC, the Spanish courts have jurisdiction to hear money laundering offences even when:

  • the predicate offence was committed abroad; or
  •  the criminal acts have been partially or totally committed abroad.

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5. Is there corporate criminal liability for money laundering offences, or is liability limited to individuals?

Spain

Money laundering is a criminal offence attributable not only to natural persons, but also to legal persons. The criminal liability of a legal person was introduced in Spain following the 2010 reform of the Criminal Code, which allows certain offences to be attributable also to legal persons when they haven’t implemented the "supervision, monitoring and control" procedures regulated in article 31-bis. 2 SCC.

According to the current version of article 31-bis of the Criminal Code, legal persons are criminally liable for: offences committed by their legal representatives, directors and managers on behalf of the entity and for its direct or indirect benefit; offences committed by natural persons, subject to the authority of the aforementioned representatives, directors or managers (eg, employees) within the operation of the entity’s activity and on its behalf, and for its direct or indirect benefit when the entity has breached its duties of supervision, surveillance and control.

However, legal persons will only be criminally liable in Spain for the offences expressly defined in the Criminal Code. In this regard, Organic Law 1/2019 of 20 February established a list of offences that generate criminal liability for legal persons, including money laundering.

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6. Which government authorities are responsible for investigating violations of the money laundering laws?

Spain

The Public Prosecutor’s office conducts investigations assisted by the police. In addition, the SEPBLAC (Spain’s Financial Intelligence Unit) is responsible for collecting and analysing suspicious activity reports and collaborates with the competent public prosecutor’s offices.

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7. Which government agencies are responsible for the prosecution of money laundering offences?

Spain

The prosecution office together with the judiciary will be responsible for the prosecution of money laundering offences. More precisely, once criminal proceedings are started by the public prosecutor, a private complainant or ex officio, the investigation judge or the central investigation judge take the lead until the legal proceedings get to the trial phase.

Jurisdiction to hear this offence corresponds to the Criminal Judges or to the National High Court if the crime has been committed abroad or in connection with any other offence that falls within the jurisdiction of the National High Court (such as, (i) counterfeiting currency or any other non-cash payment instruments, when they are committed by criminal organisations or groups; (ii) fraud and machinations to alter the price of things that cause serious repercussions on the security of commercial traffic, the national economy, or financial damage to a generality of persons in the territory of more than one court; (iii) drug or narcotics trafficking, food fraud and fraud involving pharmaceutical or medicinal substances, provided that they are committed by criminal organisations and produce effects in the territory of more than one court; or (iv) smuggling of defense material, other materials and dual-use technology and products).

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8. What is the statute of limitations for money laundering offences?

Spain

Article 131 SCC defines the statute of limitations in the Spanish criminal system. In the case of the offence of money laundering, its length depends on the severity of the relevant sanction, which, in turn, depends on the position of the author of the crime. For the basic crime described in article 301 of the Criminal Code, the statute of limitation is 10 years (article 131.1SCC). However, when the person suspected of money laundering is an authority or agent thereof, the statute of limitation will be 15 years (article 303 SCC).

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9. What are the penalties for a criminal violation of the money laundering laws?

Spain

The penalties for this crime in its basic modality, as established in article 301.1.1º SCC, include a prison sentence of six months to six years and a fine equivalent to three times the value of the seized property.

Penalties can be more severe depending on the origin of the material object, that is, if the goods come from crimes related to the trafficking of drugs, narcotics, or psychotropic substances, as well as if they come from crimes against land use planning and urban planning, bribery, influence peddling, embezzlement, fraud and illegal extortion, negotiations and activities prohibited to officials. The penalty for participating in an organised crime group can also be aggravated.

In the case of a legal person, it would be sentenced to prison for two to five years if the crime committed by the natural person was sanctioned with a prison sentence of more than five years, or a fine of six months to two years in the rest of cases (article 302.2). 

Furthermore, when the person that commits the offence is an entrepreneur, financial sector intermediary, facultative, public official, social worker, teacher or educator, in the exercise of their position, profession or trade that person will also be disqualified for employment or public office, profession or trade, industry and commerce from three to 10 years. Likewise, it can be completely disqualified from 10 to 20 years if the criminal acts are carried out by an authority or agent thereof (article 303 SCC).

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10. Are there civil penalties for violations of the money laundering laws? What are they?

Spain

There are no civil penalties as such. However, Chapter VIII of Law 10/2010 establishes administrative penalties applicable to the violations of anti-money laundering laws. Furthermore, in Spain, conviction for the commission of an offence also entails a sentence to compensate for the damages caused by such offence. Civil liability arising from the offence includes:

  • Restitution: The same property shall, whenever possible, be returned, with payment for the damage and impairment that the court determines.
  • Reparation of the damage: It may consist of obligations to give, to do or not to do, which the court shall establish taking into account the nature of the damage and the personal and financial conditions of the guilty party, determining whether they must be fulfilled by him or her or whether they can be carried out at his or her own expense.
  • Compensation for material and non-material damages: Compensation shall include not only the damage caused to the injured party, but also the one caused to his or her relatives or to third parties. The court will determine the amount of compensation.

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11. Is asset forfeiture possible under the money laundering laws? Is it part of the criminal prosecution? What property is subject to forfeiture?

Spain

Article 301.5 SCC specifically foresees forfeiture of the proceeds derived from money laundering.

Additionally, in our legal system, confiscation is regulated in article 127SCC, which allows judges, when sentencing for an intentional felony or misdemeanour, to order the confiscation of the results of crime, goods, means or tools with which it has been prepared or executed, as well as the proceeds of crime or misdemeanour, regardless the transformations they may have undergone. If the offence is reckless and the law foresees a prison penalty over one year for it the judge could also order the forfeiture of the same type of assets.

Moreover, when it is not possible to confiscate the above referred assets, or when those have lost its value, other assets can be forfeited instead, up to the economic value that the assets had when they were seized.

Finally, the judge shall also order forfeiture of other goods, effects and proceedings belonging to a person who has been convicted for a money laundering crime when he or she finds under objective grounds that those goods or effects come from unlawful activities and their lawful origin is not proved (article 127-bis.1 i) SCC).

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12. Is civil or non-conviction-based asset forfeiture permitted under the money laundering laws? What property is subject to forfeiture?

Spain

Article 127-ter SCC allows the judge to order the forfeiture of the assets even if there is no conviction, provided the illicit patrimonial situation is accredited in a contradictory process and the subject is under one of the following circumstances:

  • He or she has died or suffers from a chronic illness that prevents his or her prosecution and there is a risk that the facts may be time-barred.
  • He or she is in absentia, and this prevents the facts from being prosecuted within a reasonable period.
  • No penalty is imposed on him or her because he or she is exempt from criminal liability or because such liability has been extinguished.

However, the confiscation may only be directed against the person who has been formally accused or against the investigated in relation to whom there are reasonable indications of criminality when the situations referred to in the preceding paragraphs have prevented the continuation of the criminal proceedings.

Additionally, article 45 of the Royal Decree 304/2014, of 5 May states intervention of means of payment is possible when the reporting obligations regulated in article 34 Law 10/2010 are omitted.

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Anti-money laundering

13. Which laws or regulations in your jurisdiction impose anti-money laundering compliance requirements on financial institutions and other businesses?

Spain

The main law imposing anti-money laundering compliance requirements is Law 10/2010 of 28 April, on prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing. The purpose of this regulation is to safeguard the integrity of the financial system and other economic sectors by establishing obligations to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.

Article 26 of this law provides that covered entities must adopt in writing and implement appropriate policies and procedures for due diligence, reporting, record keeping, internal control, risk assessment and management, ensuring compliance with relevant provisions and communication, in order to prevent and deter transactions related to money laundering or terrorist financing.

It also worth mentioning the Royal Decree 304/2014, of 5 May, which enacted the regulation that implements Law 10/2010.

In addition, Spanish legislation has further elaborated on the EU regulation with the Law19/2003 of 4 July 2003 on the legal regime of capital flows and cross-border economic transactions and of certain money laundering preventive measures.

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14. What types of institutions are subject to the AML rules?

Spain

Article 2 of the Law 10/2010 provides an extensive list of institutions subject to AML rules (“covered entities”):

  • credit institutions;
  • insurance entities and insurances brokers that deal with life or investment insurances;
  • investment firms;
  • management companies of collective investment institutions and investment companies whose management is not entrusted to a management company;
  • institutions for occupational retirement provisions;
  • management companies of collective investment institutions and investment companies whose management is not entrusted to a management company;
  • mutual guarantee companies;
  • electronic money institutions, mobile payment providers and other legal entities as established in Royal Law Decree 19/2018;
  • persons professionally engaged in currency exchange activities;
  • the postal services with respect to the activities of money order or transfer;
  • persons professionally engaged in the intermediation in the granting of loans or credits and those who carry out any of the activities provided in article 6.1 of Law 5/2015;
  • property developers and real estate agents that meet certain requirements;
  • auditors, chartered accountants, tax advisers and authorised tax agents or any other person that provides, directly or indirectly, assistance or advice on tax matters as its main professional occupation;
  • notaries and registrars;
  • lawyers, court agents and other advisors who take part in the activities mentioned in article 2.1 ñ);
  • persons that, on a professional basis and in accordance with the relevant specific regulations, provide an of the services set out in article 2.1 o);
  • casino business;
  • persons who professionally trade with jewellery, precious stones or metals;
  • persons whose business activity includes trading with art objects or antiques or acting as intermediaries in the trade of art objects or antiques, and persons who store or trade with art objects or antiques or act as intermediaries in the trade of art objects or antiques when they carry out such activities in free ports;
  • persons whose business includes the activities referred to in article 1 of Law 43/2007;
  • persons whose business includes activities of deposit, custody or professional transport of funds or means of payment;
  • persons responsible for the management, exploitation and commercialisation of lotteries or other games of chance in person or by electronic, computerised, telematic and interactive means;
  • natural persons that carry out movements of means of payment, in the terms established in article 34;
  • persons who professionally trade in goods in the terms of article 38;
  • foundations and associations, as provided in article 39;
  • the managers of payment and clearing and settlement systems for securities and derivative financial products, as well as the managers of credit or debit cards issued by other entities, under the terms established in article 40; and
  • the providers of exchange services of virtual currency for fiat currency and custody of electronic purses.

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15. Must payment services and money transmitters be licensed in your jurisdiction? Are payment services and money transmitters subject to the AML rules and compliance requirements?

Spain

Yes, payments services and money transmitters are subject to the AML rules and compliance requirements, according to article 2.1(h) Law 10/2010. Moreover, the Bank of Spain, following a report by the Executive Service of the Commission for the Prevention of Money Laundering and Monetary Offences on matters within its competence, shall be responsible for authorising the creation of payment institutions.

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16. Are digital assets subject to the AML rules and compliance requirements?

Spain

Yes, Law 10/2010 provides that digital assets are also subject to the AML rules. For this purpose, its article 1 includes a definition of virtual currencies: “any digital representation of value not issued by a central bank or public authority, which is not necessarily associated to an established legal tender and does not possess the legal status of currency or money but is accepted as medium of exchange and can be transferred, stored or electronically negotiated”. Besides, this very same provision defines what is to be understood by the exchange of virtual currency for fiat currency and service providers for the custody of electronic purses.

In this sense, it should be noted that electronic money institutions (article 2.1 (h)) and providers of exchange services of virtual currency for fiat currency and custody of electronic purses (article 2.1 z)) were included as obligated entities in 2011 and 2021 respectively.

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17. What are the specific AML compliance requirements for covered institutions?

Spain

As per Law 10/2010, three categories of compliance requirements must be considered.

Due diligence requirements are, in turn, divided into three types:

  • General due diligence obligations: Including the identification of the contracting party, the clarification of whether the contracting party is acting on behalf of a beneficial owner and, if applicable, the identification of the beneficial owner, the obtaining and evaluation of information with that purpose and on the intended nature of the business relationship, and the continuous monitoring of the business relationship as well as of the transaction.
  • Simplified due diligence obligations: Obliged entities can apply simplified due diligence measures to the extent that they determine, considering the risk factors, that there is a low risk of money laundering or terrorist financing in certain areas, in particular regarding customers, transactions and services or products foreseen in articles 15 and 16 Royal Decree 304/2014.
  • Enhanced due diligence obligations: Obliged entities must apply enhanced due diligence measures in countries, operations and situations that have a higher risk of money laundering or terrorist financing. These measures should also be applied in the operations set out in article 19 Royal Decree 304/2014.

Information obligations include examining any transaction that could be related to money laundering, informing the SEPBLAC about those transactions in which there are indications of money laundering, not performing those transactions, communicating periodically and collaborating with the SEPBLAC, not informing the client that they have made this communication and recording and retaining all documents on AML obligations compliance.

Finally, internal control requirements are regulated in articles 26 to 33 of Law 10/2010 and entail the creation of appropriate business and customer-related internal safeguards to manage and mitigate the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing in the form of policies, procedures and controls.

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18. Are there different AML compliance requirements for different types of institutions?

Spain

Law 10/2010 does not generally require different standards for different institutions, as it follows a risk-based approach. In this regard, even if articles 4, 5 and 6 set out the general principles, each obliged institution must determine appropriate compliance measures based on its own risk profile, considering its type of customer, business relationship, product or operation.

However, Law 10/2010 does introduce some distinctions for particular cases. For instance, casino businesses are subject to specific enhanced measures (article 7.5). By contrast, associations and foundations, have fewer obligations than other institutions (article 39).

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19. Which government authorities are responsible for the examination and enforcement of compliance with the AML rules?

Spain

The SEPBLAC is the Spanish Supervisory Authority responsible for the examination and enforcement of the compliance with AML rules. In this sense, the SEPBLAC is competent for the initiation, follow-up and resolution of sanctioning proceedings for non-compliance with those obligations.

The imposition of penalties is, however, the responsibility of the General Director of the Treasury and Financial Policy, the Minister of Economy and Finance and the Council of Ministers depending on the seriousness of the infringement.  

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20. Are there requirements to monitor and report suspicious activity? What are the factors that trigger the requirement to report suspicious activity? What is the process for reporting suspicious activity?

Spain

General due diligence obligations require continuous monitoring of the business relationships and reporting of suspicious activities. Activities are considered suspicious when a covered entity knows, suspects or has reasonable grounds to suspect that they are related to money laundering, or its predicate offences or to the financing of terrorism, including those cases that show an obvious lack of correspondence with the nature, volume of activity or operating history of the clients, provided that the special examination does not show any economic, professional or business justification for carrying out the transactions.

The reports of suspicious activity shall be made without delay in accordance with the relevant procedures and shall, in any case, contain the following information:

  • List and identification of the natural or legal persons involved in the transaction and the nature of their participation.
  • The activity that the natural or legal persons participating in transactions are known to be engaged and the congruence between this activity and the transactions made.
  • A list of transactions and their dates stating their nature, the currency in which they were carried out, the amounts and place or places where it occurred, their purpose and the means of payment or collection used.
  • The steps taken by the covered entity or person to investigate the transactions reported.
  • A statement of all the circumstances of whatever kind giving rise to the suspicion or certainty of a link with money laundering, or evidencing the lack of economic, professional or business justification for the activities carried out.
  • Any other data relevant to the prevention of money laundering or terrorist financing determined in the regulations.

In terms of process, covered entities shall, on their own initiative, notify SEPBLAC when there is any indication or certainty that it bears a relation to money laundering or terrorist financing.

However, the report to the SEPBLAC shall be preceded by a special examination of the transaction, which shall be done by the covered entity itself. In this sense, covered entities shall establish internal controls and must specify the way in which this obligation to conduct a special review has to be fulfilled.

These specifications shall include the preparation and dissemination among managers, employees, and agents of a list of transactions particularly likely to be related to money laundering or terrorist financing. Managers and employees may report suspicious transactions directly to the SEPBLAC if they have previously communicated them internally and the covered entity has failed to do so.

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21. Are there confidentiality requirements associated with the reporting of suspicious activity? What are the requirements? Who do the confidentiality requirements apply to? Are there penalties for violations of the confidentiality requirements?

Spain

The covered entities – and their managers and employees – may not inform the client or third parties about the suspicious activity reported to the SEPBLAC or that any transaction is being or may be examined in case it could be related to money laundering or terrorist financing.

Additionally, they shall take appropriate measures to ensure the confidentiality of the identity of employees, directors or agents who have reported to the internal compliance unit a transaction that they have reason to suspect or know to be related to money laundering or terrorist financing. Anonymous reports are also valid.

Furthermore, all persons who carry out or have carried out an activity for the SEPBLAC or any of its bodies and have had knowledge of its actions or of data of a confidential nature are obliged to maintain due secrecy. In the same sense the authorities, persons or public institutions receiving confidential information from the SEPBLAC, or its support bodies shall also be subject to the duty of confidentiality.

Violation of the prohibition of disclosure or the duty of confidentiality will be considered very serious infringements. Penalties for this infringement consist of fines starting at €150,000 plus public reprimands and, in the case of institutions requiring administrative authorisation to operate, temporary suspension or withdrawal of this authorisation. Failure by the covered entities to take appropriate measures to maintain the confidentiality of the identity of employees, directors or agents who have submitted a report are also considered serious infringements that can be punished with private or public reprimands, fines starting at €60,000, and, in the case of entities subject to administrative authorisation to operate, the temporary suspension of such authorisation.

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22. Are there requirements for reporting large currency transactions? Who must file the reports, and what is the threshold?

Spain

Yes, article 27 of the Royal Decree 304/2014, of 5 May establishes the requirements for reporting large currency transactions and the threshold. According to it, covered entities shall notify the SEPBLAC on a monthly basis:

  • Transactions involving the physical movement of coins, paper money, travellers’ cheques, cheques or other bearer documents drawn by credit institutions, except for those credited or debited to a customer’s account, for an amount exceeding €30,000 or their equivalent in foreign currency.
  • Covered entities that carry out money remittances shall notify the transactions involving the physical movement of coins, paper money, traveller’s cheques, cheques or other bearer documents in excess of €1,500 or their equivalent in foreign currency.
  • Transactions carried out by or with individuals or legal entities resident, or acting on their behalf, in territories or countries designated for this purpose by Order of the Minister of Economy and Competitiveness, as well as transactions involving the transfer of funds to or from such territories or countries, regardless of the residence of the persons involved, provided that the amount of such transactions exceeds €30,000 or their equivalent in foreign currency.
  • Transactions that involve (i) exit or entry into national territory of means of payment for an amount equal to or greater than €10,000 or their equivalent value in foreign currency or (ii) movements through national territory of means of payment for an amount equal to or greater than €100,000 or their equivalent value in foreign currency.
  • Aggregate information on money remittance activity, broken down by country of origin or destination and by agent or centre of activity.
  • Aggregate information on the transfer activity with or abroad of credit institutions, broken down by country of origin or destination.
  • The transactions determined by Order of the Minister of Economy and Competitiveness.

In addition, it also states as a limit that covered entities shall not include in the monthly systematic reporting the transactions corresponding to their own activity of investment or raising of financial resources in international markets or activity of a similar nature of those customers who have the status of financial institution authorised to operate in the European Union or equivalent third countries.

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23. Are there reporting requirements for cross-border transactions? Who is subject to the requirements and what must be reported?

Spain

Reporting obligations for cross-border transactions in Spain are regulated in Law 19/2003 of 4 July on the legal regime of capital movements and foreign economic transactions and the Royal Decree 1816/1991, of 20 of December, on foreign economic transactions; however, information collected by these means is not specifically for money laundering purposes but for tax, statistic, and administrative reasons.

Pursuant to this law,  individuals and legal persons that carry out acts, businesses, transactions and operations between residents and non-residents that imply or from the fulfillment of which foreign collections and payments may be derived, as well as transfers from or to abroad and variations in accounts or financial debit or credit positions with respect to abroad;  and credit institutions, investment services companies and other financial intermediaries involved in the execution of those transactions on behalf of their customers must communicate to the Spanish Central Bank and the Ministry of Economy the information regarding the transactions.

In this sense, the Spanish Central Bank Circular 4/2012, of 25 April, on rules for the reporting by residents in Spain of economic transactions and balances of financial assets and liabilities abroad states that own-account transactions with non-residents, whatever their nature and regardless of how they are settled, and balances and variations of assets or liabilities abroad, regardless of the form in which they materialise, shall be notified to the Spanish Central Bank.

The periodicity in which these communications should be made will depend on the total amount of the transactions with non-residents and the balances of assets and liabilities with foreign countries of the previous year.

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24. Is there a financial intelligence unit (FIU) or other government agency responsible for analysing the information reported under the AML rules?

Spain

The Executive Service of the Commission for the Prevention of Money Laundering and Monetary Offences is Spain’s financial intelligence unit (and supervisory authority for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism.

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25. What are the penalties for failing to comply with your jurisdiction’s AML rules, and are they civil or criminal?

Spain

Law 10/2010 regulates the administrative penalties for failing to comply with Spanish AML rules. Penalties will depend on whether the infringement is classified as “very serious”, “serious” or “minor” under Law 10/2010 ranging from private warnings (amonestación privada) to, eg, fines up to 10 per cent of the total annual turnover of the obligor.

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26. Are compliance personnel subject to the AML rules? Can an enforcement action be brought against an individual for violations?

Spain

Law 10/2010 does not establish specific provisions for general compliance personnel. However, enforcement actions can be brought against individuals for violations of said law. In particular, managers and directors can be liable for non-compliance with Spanish AML rules if infringements are attributable to their wilful or negligent conduct.

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27. What is the statute of limitations for violations of the AML rules?

Spain

According to Law 10/2010, the statute of limitations for violations of Spanish AML rules is of five years in the case of “very serious” and “serious” infringements, and two years in the case of “minor” infringements. The general rule is that the statute of limitations will begin to run when the infringement is committed.

Additionally, the statute of limitations for penalties imposed for violations of Spanish AML rules is three years in the case of “very serious” infringements, two years in the case of “serious” infringements, and one year in the case of “minor” infringements, which will begin when the decision imposing the sanction is notified.

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28. Does your jurisdiction have a beneficial ownership registry or an entity or office that collects information on the beneficial ownership of legal entities?

Spain

The Ultimate Beneficial Ownership Registry (UBO Registry) was created by means of Royal Decree 609/2023, of 11 of July. The UBO Registry is a single electronic central registry managed by the Spanish Ministry of Justice, which is under the responsibility of the General Directorate of Legal Security and Public Faith. The purpose of the UBO Registry is to collect and make public, among other data, information on the ultimate beneficial ownership of all Spanish legal persons and other entities or structures without legal personality operating in Spain.

Regarding availability of the information, the following persons and entities have access to the information in the UBO Registry:

  • public authorities responsible for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of money laundering and financing of terrorism;
  • notaries and registrars within the scope of their duties;
  • covered entities under Law 10/2010; and
  • any other person or entity who can demonstrate a legitimate interest (subject to certain access limitations).

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