Belgian authorities ramp up use of bank data to combat crime

Belgian authorities ramp up use of bank data to combat crime (1)
credit: bloomberg

Brussels (Parliament News) – Belgian authorities increasingly use the central bank’s register to track tax fraud, money laundering, and serious crimes, accessing it 135,330 times in the first half of 2024.

How Are Belgian Authorities Using Bank Data for Crime Tracking?

Belgian authorities are extensively evaluating data on the central bank’s register of bank accounts, which in current years is being employed more widely to follow tax fraud and notice money laundering, terrorism funding, and other forms of serious crime.

What Drives the Increased Use of Belgium’s Bank Register in 2024?

A piece of information by L’Echo indicates that the register controlled by the National Bank of Belgium was accessed 135,330 times in the first six months of 2024 – 11 per cent more than during the exact period last year. This was largely pushed by the tax and judicial authorities.

The register includes the bank account numbers and financial arrangements of every Belgian. Since 2022 it has also retained account balances.

Originally only tax authorities were competent to consult the register but the permit has been broadened to other state bodies since 2020. This contains the Ministry (FPS) of Justice and notaries (people authorised to perform certain legal formalities like viewer signing of agreements and addressing succession issues after a person’s death).

How Are Notaries and Justice Ministry Using Bank Data in Belgium?

In certain, the Justice Ministry conferred the register 22,144 times in the first six months of the year – up 42 per cent on the same period in 2023. A representative for the department explained that these were questions from the police, court orders, or questions requested directly by the judiciary in the context of business courts, receivership, or examining magistrates.

The tax authorities conferred the database the most during the first half of 2024. The Ministry of Finance conferred the register 53,181 times – up 11%. A representative clarified that this is primarily to recover tax arrears.

Notaries also often consultant the register: 52,621 times in the first half of the year, though this was 1 per cent less than in the exact period last year. Notaries can only confer the register in the event of a death, as part of the assertion of inheritance. The National Institute for Sickness and Disability Insurance (L’Inami) will also soon be capable of consulting the register under specific conditions, L’Echo noted. This will mostly be for verifying the identity of an arrangement holder who is paying their health insurance assistance through a third-party payment system.

Federica CalabrĂ²

Federica CalabrĂ² is a journalist at Parliament News, She is covering Business and General World News. She is a native of Naples, commenced her career as a teller at Poste Italiane before following her passion for dance. Graduating in classical dance, she showcased her talents with two entertainment companies, enchanting audiences throughout Italy. Presently, Federica serves as the general secretary at the Allianz Bank Financial Advisors financial promotion center in Naples. In this capacity, she manages office forms, provides document assistance for Financial Advisors, oversees paperwork for the back office, and ensures smooth customer reception and assistance at the front office. Outside her professional obligations, Federica indulges in her passion for writing in her leisure time.