The bank is not obliged to report suspicious transactions

It is not possible to blame a bank for having collected dubious payments or allowing unusual operations to be carried out without alerting them.

A banker’s due diligence obligations are due only to the State and only concern suspicions of money laundering and terrorist financingobserved the Court of Cassation on September 21.

This vigilance, explained the Court, can only be observed for the benefit of the Tracfin service, exclusively. The Monetary and Financial Code specifies that only this department of the Ministry of the Economy can receive statements from bankers, statements which are confidential. No one has the right to divulge anyone the existence of a declaration, its content or the consequences that would have been reserved for it.

A lawsuit had been brought against a bank by a company whose accountant had fraudulently made transfers to the current accounts of members of his family. The company blamed the bank for having received the money while keeping silent, of not having alerted him to repeated credit transactions which should have seemed abnormal to him in view of the usual operation of credit accounts. The existence and the transfer amounts were abnormal, unjustified on individual accountsand the receiving bank should have exercised a duty of care general by finding out about the origin and the reason for these payments, said the victim company, even if this duty weighed first on the issuing bank.

But the judges dismissed these criticisms because even if it were possible to consider the bank as at fault, the latter had no obligation, nor even the right, to alert anyone.

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In another case, amateur investors who made numerous transfers to investment platforms that turned out to be scams blamed their banker for letting them do it. But again, the Court of Cassation ruled out any fault on the part of the bank. It owed no warning from individuals and, solicited only to transfer the money, owed no investment advice.

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