Recognizing unusual transactions

As a civil-law notary, you are familiar with the practices within your line of business. Whether a transaction is considered unusual depends largely on your professional judgment. Your opinion is consistent with what is considered unusual within your profession. In addition to your judgment, there are situations that are unusual by nature and should therefore be reported.

If a situation arises as described in the examples below (not exhaustive), this is a reason to further examine whether the transaction could be related to money laundering, terrorist financing, and/or associated predicate offenses. It is not necessary to determine with certainty that the above-mentioned crimes have been committed. You merely need to have an assumption that the transaction can be related to one of these crimes.
If you believe that the transaction could be related to money laundering, terrorist financing, and/or associated predicate offenses, you are required to report this under the subjective indicator.

Red flags – Notary

  • The client wishes to establish a company with a dubious objective and/or the company has no or little connection with the client’s profession
  • The client repeatedly buys and sells real estate without having any interest in the result to be achieved
  • Without a reasonable financial, legal or commercial reason the client wishes to or already has established several companies in its own name or that of another person in a short period of time
  • Another person acts on behalf of the client although there is no valid financial, legal or commercial explanation for this representation
  • A client wants to use the third-party account other than for which it is intended (without any legal basis). The client has deposited an amount on the third-party account and requests that this be refunded to one or more other account(s), whether or not in the name of the client or that the amount deposited be refunded by check
  • The source or origin of the capital contribution for a legal entity in formation is from a subordinated loan from a third party
  • The client does not reside or work in the working area of ​​the notary and does not belong to its clientele, makes use of an intermediary unknown to the notary or engages the notary for a service for which another notary within the client’s region could have been engaged, while no plausible/acceptable explanation can be given to the notary
  • Client may be a strawman. This individual acts in the deed just like a frontman under his own name. This person has the ownership of the purchased property, but in practice, they often do not have the actual power of disposition. It is not possible to seek redress from a strawman
  • The client always uses the same appraiser, financier, mortgage advisor or agency for the structural inspection
  • The B-C purchase agreement was concluded prior to the A-B purchase agreement
  • Seller B seems to arrange everything for buyer C
  • With regard to A-B-C transactions: A-C agreements
  • Buyer C does is not required to pay a deposit when purchasing a real estate property
  • The property is sold in the condition in which it will be delivered later, while the conversion or renovation has not yet taken place and the purchase agreement does not mention a conversion or renovation
  • The appraisal report contains information that does not correspond with the actual course of events
  • The client buys the registered property with his/her own resources (without financing) without an economic or legitimate explanation
  • The purchase price or deposit is financed by someone other than the client/mortgage lender without it being known what the relationship is between the lender and the client
  • Use of suspected false documents
  • The payment between buyer and seller is conducted privately (without the involvement/presence of a notary)
  • The purchase price remains wholly or in part due by the buyer, with or without the seller acting as the mortgagee


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