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Landmark case: the offence of money laundering is an instantaneous offence

Nov 18, 2019

In six rulings, the Criminal Division of the French Court of Cassation has answered major questions on tax fraud and money laundering. More particularly, the Court now considers that money laundering is an instantaneous offence that is executed in a fraction of time and whose materiality is consumed, for example, on the date of the opening of bank accounts and the placement of the disputed sums on these accounts, but not by the fact that the concealed sums remain to the credit of the accounts opened previously. This offence cannot therefore be confused with the offence of concealment.

“Since money laundering is an instantaneous and not continuous offence, the Court of Appeal could not consider that it continued to exist simply because the funds concealed from the tax authorities, paid into the account opened abroad in the name of the company Basic International prior to the time when the offence was committed, were still held in that account during that period”.

Cass. Crim., September 11, 2019, no. 18-81.040.