However, the handling by legal professionals of funds belonging to their clients is considered by the “guidance for a risk-based approach” published by the FATF as carrying increased risks.
These guidelines identify, in the first place, the risk for a lawyer of being manipulated by being solicited for an apparently regular legal transaction, actually serving as a means for a fraudulent financial flow.
The FATF then deplores a lack of information sharing between legal professionals and the banks with which these professionals deposit their clients' funds in most countries, because of the professional secrecy to which lawyers are bound.
The compulsory intervention of the CARPA when a lawyer receives funds on behalf of his clients precisely prevents and reduces this risk.
By means of the controls that it carries out using the risk-based approach and with the means of analysing operations at its disposal, the CARPA will decipher, by dialoguing with the lawyer, the financial flow incidental to the legal transaction in which he participates and verify whether its compliance is ensured.
If the professional secrecy to which the lawyer is strictly bound prevents him from providing a bank with the information contained in his file, the lawyer cannot, on the other hand, oppose this secrecy to the CARPA, which carries out its controls under the authority of the President of the Bar Association. This is what ensures the effectiveness of the system while guaranteeing respect for the professional secrecy owed by lawyers to their clients.
If the CARPA detects a risk of irregularity, it triggers the necessary alerts and encourages the lawyer to react himself pursuant to his anti-money laundering obligations.
For its part, the CARPA itself makes the declaration of suspicion, if the conditions are met, for which it is responsible in its capacity of subjected party (see below).
The intensity of the risk attached to the handling of funds carried out by the lawyer on behalf of his clients is thus very greatly reduced because the CARPA intervenes precisely to control this risk and allows, thanks to its controls and the means that it deploys to achieve them, to secure the handling of funds.