Money Laundering

Criminal Lawyers in Money Laundering Crimes

The crime of money laundering

Money Laundering Lawyers

Money laundering is a crime that consists of acquiring, possessing, using, converting, or transmitting assets from a previous crime committed by the same subject or by a third party, as well as carrying out any other conduct to conceal their illegal origin and thus make it appear that they have a legal origin or to help the person responsible for the crime.

By assets, we must understand assets of any kind; money, cryptocurrencies, movable, immovable, tangible or intangible, as well as documents or legal instruments evidencing ownership or right over such assets.

Esteban Criminal Lawyers. Legal assistance in money laundering

Recent Success Cases

Money Laundering

Result: Dismissal

Court: Court of First Instance
Complainant: Police
Accusation: Money Laundering Crime

The following is an in-depth analysis of the characteristics of this crime.

Table of Contents

Money Laundering Penal Code

Money laundering is typified in articles 300 to 304 of the Penal Code, within Title XIII, crimes against the Patrimony and the socioeconomic order, Chapter XIV.

The active subject of this crime carries out a series of conducts to conceal and hinder the investigation of the origin of the capital.

It is an intentional crime since the person responsible for the laundering conceals assets from illegal acts so that they appear to have a legal origin with complete will and conscience.

It is a crime of activity, so consummation occurs when an attempt is made to camouflage the capital of illicit origin.

The basic type of money laundering offenses

Skilled money laundering offense lawyers

The basic type of this crime consists of acquiring, possessing, using, or transferring assets from a previous crime, whether committed by the active subject or by a third party, as well as carrying out any other conduct to cover up the illicit origin of the capital or to assist the person responsible for the crime.

The ultimate objective of this primary type is to conceal the illicit origin of the capital to enjoy the assets legally.

It is punishable by six months to six years imprisonment and a fine of three times the value of the assets.

In addition, the judges or courts may impose a special disqualification for exercising his profession for one to three years and the temporary closure, up to five years, or definitive, of the establishment or premises in which he launders the money.

Our Law Firm specializes in this crime. We are endorsed by numerous successful cases in which we have achieved satisfactory sentences for our clients. In addition, Esteban Criminal Lawyers are specialists in the prevention of money laundering.

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Aggravated type of money laundering

Lawyers Money Laundering

Money laundering presents an aggravated type when the capital or goods come from certain crimes because they are commonplace and difficult to prosecute by the justice system. The aggravated type occurs in the following offenses:

  • Drug trafficking.
  • Bribery.
  • Influence peddling.
  • Embezzlement.
  • Fraud and illegal exactions.
  • Crimes against land and urban planning.
  • Negotiations and activities prohibited by civil servants.
When the capital comes from any of these crimes, the penalties of the basic type will be imposed in its upper half. When the active subject turns out to be a legal entity, the following penalties will be imposed:
  • If the sentence is more than five years of imprisonment, a fine of two to five years.
  • In all other cases, a fine of six months to two years.

Money laundering by negligence

Money laundering is an intentional crime in which the perpetrator is aware of the illicit origin of the assets. However, there is also a form of money laundering due to gross negligence, i.e., a breach of the duty of care.

An example of money laundering due to gross negligence would be the so-called «banker’s mules.» In this case, a person is recruited by a criminal organization to act as an intermediary by accepting money of unknown origin into his or her account and then transferring it to another person abroad, charging a sum of money in exchange for each transaction. Even if the account holder does not know the origin of the goods, he can easily suspect their illicit origin and avoid laundering, having been more cautious.

According to case law, anyone can launder by gross negligence or recklessness.

Laundering by gross negligence is punishable by a prison sentence of six months to two years and a fine of three times the value laundered.

Money laundering linked to a criminal organization

If the persons accused of a money laundering offense are linked to organized crime, the penalties will be imposed in the upper half. Higher penalties will be imposed on the heads, administrators, or persons in charge of the organization.

In this case, it will be necessary to prove that they belong to a criminal organization (the organization requires several people who coordinate among themselves, that there is a hierarchy and distribution of roles, and certain stability, even if transitory, in addition to having the suitable means to achieve the proposed purpose).


Self-laundering is defined as money laundering originating from a criminal act committed by the launderer.

This is a complex and controversial aspect of this crime since it does not punish the enjoyment of the illicit assets themselves but rather the introduction or conversion of such assets, with illegal origins, into the legal market.

In other words, self-laundering will only be punishable when an attempt is made to launder the illicit capital and introduce it into the market.

Money laundering linked to drug trafficking

Money laundering is often associated with drug trafficking because the active subject wants to introduce into the legal, economic system the dirty money coming from drug trafficking, with the objective that this money is taxed and appears officially as coming from a lawful activity.

Money laundering in drug trafficking constitutes an aggravated type of this crime, for which the penalties are imposed in the upper half.

On many occasions, establishments or premises are used to convert or «launder» the money from trafficking and hide the fact that they have an illegal origin.

Confiscation of profits

As indicated in Article 301.5 of the Criminal Code, all profits and assets obtained from the commission of this crime, as well as those used for its perpetration, including any transformations they may have undergone, shall be confiscated.

If confiscation is not possible, confiscating other goods of similar economic value and their profits will be agreed upon.

Evidence or indications in money laundering investigations

Convictions for money laundering offenses are often based on circumstantial evidence since direct proof of the illicit origin of the capital is often impossible to obtain.

These are the most common types of circumstantial or circumstantial evidence that the courts take into account when considering a money laundering offense to be proven:

  • The sudden appearance of large amounts of money.
  • The use of this money in fraudulent operations.
  • The movement of large amounts of capital.
  • When the wealth is disproportionate to the activity carried out by the person responsible.
  • Excessive use of cash and little or no use of credit or debit cards.
  • Failure to justify the lawful origin of the income.
  • Owning businesses lacking bank credits.
  • Possession of substantial amounts of cash.
  • Concealment of the true ownership of goods and properties.
  • Receiving payment from unidentified sources.
  • Existence of front companies and frontmen.
  • Links with individuals and groups related to illicit activities.
  • Circulation of money by unusual means.
  • Unjustified increase in assets.

This evidence, together with others, shows the possible existence of a crime to start the money laundering investigations.

As specialists in Legislation and Jurisprudence on the prevention of money laundering, we have a team that will advise and accompany you throughout the process.

Phases in the crime of money laundering

This crime is structured in three successive and linked phases, connected through the same common thread, clandestinity, and the appearance of legality, generally through the creation of companies or corporations:


1. Placement of capital in the market: in this stage, the black money is physically placed in the national or international financial system.

2. Distraction to disguise its criminal origin: criminal organizations carry out various transactions, making it difficult for the authorities to investigate money laundering.

3. Reintegration of the laundered money to its owner: at this stage, the laundered assets are mixed with legally acquired assets.

As indicated by the Supreme Court, the conviction for this crime does not require a prior conviction for the crime for which the laundered capital is derived, nor does it require a detailed description of such criminal activity; it is sufficient to specify, even if only minimally, that the money is derived from illegal activity. The establishment of money laundering requires proof of the concurrence of each one of its typical elements:

  • Criminal origin of the assets (and not merely illicit, illegal, or unlawful).
  • Indicative proof: Unusual increase of the patrimony or handling of high amounts of cash without legitimate businesses that justify it. And the demonstration of some link or connection with drug trafficking activities or with persons or groups related to them.
  • The purpose of covering up or hiding the illegal origin of the goods or helping the participants of the previous crime.

There will be money laundering, whether it is a small amount or a very high amount, and the penalty will depend on the amount laundered.

At Esteban Abogados Penalistas, we are specialists in Money Laundering Crimes, and we have professionals with outstanding technical knowledge to offer you specialized assistance.

Prevent Money Laundering Law and Terrorist Financing (PBCFT).

In Spain, Law 10/2010, of April 28, on the prevention of money laundering and the financing of terrorism (PBCFT), and Royal Decree 304/2014, of May 5, which approves the Regulations for the development of Law 10/2010, regulate those obligations that certain subjects, such as credit institutions, tax advisors, accountants, account auditors, etc., have in preventing the commission of this crime.

Among the various forms of action proposed by the law are:

  • The real identification of the client.
  • Knowing their professional or business activity.
  • Keeping the information updated and maintaining continuous monitoring of the relationship.
  • Adopting internal control measures, among others.

Legal professionals that provide advice in litigation are protected by professional secrecy and, therefore, are not subject to this regulation.

SEPBLAC (Executive Service for the Prevention of Money Laundering and Monetary Offenses)

SEPBLAC is Spain’s national crime agency for Financial Intelligence. Created in 1993 to prevent and deter money laundering and terrorist financing.

SEPBLAC’s functions

SEPBLANC, in its fight to prevent money laundering and the financing of terrorism, as well as to protect the integrity of the financial sector, performs the following functions:
  • Generation, processing, and dissemination of financial intelligence.
  • Management of the Centralized Registry of Bank Accounts (FTF).
  • Authorizations for creating new financial institutions, acquiring or increasing significant shareholdings, or structural modifications.
  • Supervision and inspection of compliance with economic sanctions.

On whom does SEPBLANC depend

Sepblac reports to the Commission for the Prevention of Money Laundering and Monetary Offenses (CPMLMO). This commission appoints its director in consultation with the Bank of Spain.