The Control Report Review Board (La Commission d’Examen des Rapports de Contrôles – CERC)

The Control Report Review Board

The SICCFIN Control Report Review Commission (the “La Commission d’Examen des Rapports de Contrôles” hereinafter “CERC”) was established by Law n°1,462 of June 28, 2018 amending Law n° 1.362 of August 3, 2009 and is responsible for formulating proposals for sanctions to be imposed on the Minister of State (“Ministre d’Etat”) in the event of non-compliance by reporting entities with obligations related to anti-money laundering and terrorist financing (AML/FT), the failures of which would have been previously recorded by SICCFIN in a report.

By creating the CERC, the AML/FT legislation has thus created an independence between the supervisory authority (SICCFIN) and the prosecuting authority (CERC) that did not exist until then.

Since the establishment of the CERC, its procedure has been modified several times, especially by :

  • The law n°1503 of December 23, 2020 (reinforcing the system of fight against money laundering, terrorism financing and corruption) which introduced in particular a new simplified procedure in case of simple warning considered by the CERC (art. 65-2 Law n° 1.362);
  • Sovereign Orders n°7.065 of July 26, 2018, n°7.285 of January 10, 2019, n°7.559 of June 28, 2019, n°8.634 of April 29, 2021 or more recently with Sovereign Order n°9.125 of February 25, 2022;
  • The law n°1.520 of February 11, 2022 introducing new rules applicable to the ordinary procedure, whose adversarial character is reinforced (art. 65-3, 65-4 Law n° 1.362);
  • Sovereign Order 9.170 of April 4, 2022, which created a new article 57-1 establishing the procedures for recusal of CERC members.

Numerous deadlines must be satisfied within the framework of this procedure, being specified that this one is singular by the existence of many particularities.

For example, under the ordinary procedure, the Minister of State has a period of 18 months from the date of referral to the CERC to notify in writing to the organization concerned any grievances that may be qualified as serious, repeated or systematic breaches of the AML/FT legislation. Failing this, the procedure will be terminated and no further action may be taken on the procedure that was initiated.

Again by way of example in the ordinary procedure, in the event that the body concerned has been notified of the objections, it will have a period of two months in which to formulate its written observations in response, it being specified that an additional period of time may be granted by the Chairman of the CERC upon reasoned request.

In the event of administrative and/or financial penalties being imposed by the Minister of State (“Ministre d’Etat”), the bodies in question may initiate recourse before the Court of First Instance within two months of the date of notification (art. 67-4 Law n°1.362).

Finally, please note that as of April 2022, to our knowledge, no legal action has been initiated.

Régis BERGONZI’s team is at your disposal to explain the particularities of this contradictory administrative procedure, to explain the financial and reputational stakes for your organization and to provide useful assistance during the various procedural stages.

Source: Regis Bergonzi Law Firm

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