With first initiatives dating back to the early 1990s Austria has developed and implemented a comprehensive anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing system based on international standards set by the Financial Actions Task Force (FATF), the United Nations and the European Union amongst others.
Both money laundering and terrorist financing are criminal (Art. 165 and 278d of the Criminal Code). The money laundering offense includes self-laundering. Predicate offenses cover all serious offenses under Austrian criminal law as well as a wide range of misdemeanours and all intentionally committed tax offenses that are subject to an obligatory imprisonment of more than three years. Both natural and legal persons and entities are criminally liable for money laundering and for predicate offenses as well as for terrorist financing.
Preventive measures are based on the Third EU Anti-money laundering Directive and were enhanced in 2010, following the last evaluation by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in 2009. All persons and entities that conduct business financial activities as well as a wide range of non-financial businesses and professions (incl. lawyers and notaries, tax consultants and accounting professions, casinos) are subject to preventive measures, which are set out in sector/profession-specific laws.
Legal provisions on preventive measures follow a risk-based approach and require obliged persons and entities to conduct a risk-analysis of their business, apply risk-based customer due diligence and take enhanced measures to address higher risk situations. Preventive measures include i.e. the following obligations:
- Identification and verification of the customers´ identity: This obligation applies to (permanent) business relationships as well as to on-off transactions above a threshold of EUR 15,000. Furthermore it is relevant in case of money laundering or terrorist financing suspicion.
- On-going due diligence on the business relationship
- Identification and verification of the identity of the beneficial owner of a customer
- Special attention to all transactions that are complex, unusual in size or in pattern of trade, which have no apparent or visible economic or lawful purpose
- Keeping all necessary records on individual transactions and business relationships (incl. identification data) for at least five years
- Reporting of suspicious transactions to the Austrian Financial Intelligence Unit (established within the Federal Ministry of the Interior)
- Cooperation with authorities, in particular the Austrian Financial Intelligence Unit (A-FIU) and the supervisory authority
The anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing framework is supported by well-developed and closely cooperating administrative and supervisory authorities as well as active professional organizations.
Concerning the financial sector, compliance with the legal obligations is monitored by the Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA).