New legislation to fight against money laundering

Two new laws were published in August aimed at fighting money laundering and terrorist financing. The laws will come into force on different dates – September and November – and their contents will be briefly explained here.


Two new laws were published in August:

(i) Law no. 83/2017 of 18 August establishing new measures to fight money laundering and terrorist financing, partially transposing Directives 2015/849/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2015 and 2016/2258/EU of the Council of 6 December 2016, amending the Penal Code and the Industrial Property Code and repealing Law no. 25/2008, of 5 June, and Decree-Law no. 125/2008, of July 21;


(ii) Law no. 89/2017 of 21 August, which approves the legal regime of the Central Registry of the Actual Beneficiary (RCBE), which transposes Chapter III of Directive 2015/849 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering or terrorist financing.


Central Registry of the Actual Beneficiary

The Central Registry of the Actual Beneficiary (RCBE) is a database managed by the Institute of Registries and Notary Affairs, whose purpose is to organize and keep up to date information relating to the natural person or persons who own or hold effective control, even if indirectly or through a third party, of the following entities:


  • Associations, cooperatives, foundations, civil and commercial societies, as well as any other personalized collective entities, subject to Portuguese law or foreign law, that carry out an activity or practice a legal act or business in the national territory that determines the issuing of an identification number (NIF) in Portugal;
  • Representations of international legal persons or of foreign law that are active in Portugal;
  • Other entities that, pursuing their own objectives and activities different from those of their associates, don’t have legal personality;
  • Fiduciary management instruments registered in the Madeira Free Trade Zone (“ZFM”) (“trust”);
  • The external financial branches registered in the ZFM; and
  • Trust funds and other collective interests centres without legal personality, having a similar structure or functions, when they do not fall within the previous entities, when certain circumstances occur.


The purpose of this register is to increase the transparency of trade relations and the fulfilment of the duties of preventing and fighting money laundering.

Registration regulations have not yet been published, which will allow for more specific platforms, forms and procedures.

These diplomas come into force, in the first case, 30 days after publication of the diploma, namely September 17, and in the second, 90 days after its publication, namely November 19, 2017.

More in Communication