On request of a local bar, the Italian National Bar Association (Consiglio Nazionale Forense – CNF) opined that a lawyer can oppose the professional privilege to search and seizure of her clients’ files in the course of an anti-money laundering (AML) investigation by the competent enforcement authority (GDF) under Article 8 AML Law (powers of investigation after notice of a suspicious transaction) and that GDF needs always a warrant to search and seize those files.
The issue arose because the AML law gives GDF the same power as GDF has in repression of tax evasion. In particular, Article 52 DPR 633 says that GDF needs a warrant only to access privileged documents that are under lock and key. The view of GDF was that this provision would apply also in case of an AML investigation. The CNF disagreed: the search and seizure of privileged material in a lawyer’s office is subject to warrant. The AML investigation is also subject to Article 103, Italian Criminal Procedure Code (available in Italian at http://www.altalex.com…), as for the specific (and more protected) cases here provided.
Full opinion in Italian here
For more information, contact Francesca Giannoni-Crystal