Money laundering; filing a suspicious activity report

The main purpose of the duty to report suspicions is to obtain relevant information for the law enforcement authorities.


The filing of a SAR is the central provision of the Money Laundering Act. This is not a matter of classic due diligence or organizational duties of a preventive nature under money laundering law, but rather a duty that serves the interests of combating crime. Section 6 of the Money Laundering Act (§ 43 to § 45) regulates when, how and where they must report circumstances where facts indicate a connection with money laundering or terrorist financing.


The obligation to report exists irrespective of the value of the transaction (there is no threshold of at least 10,000 euros for goods traders!), the type of asset involved (not only for cash transactions!) and the method of payment (no restriction to cash payments for goods traders!). You must immediately send a suspicious activity report to the "Financial Intelligence Unit" (FIU for short) of the General Directorate of Customs as soon as one of the following indications exists:

  • The asset, which is related to a business relationship, brokerage or transaction, originates from a criminal act that could constitute a predicate offense to money laundering,
  • a business transaction, a transaction or an asset is related to terrorist financing, or
  • the contracting party has not fulfilled its disclosure obligation pursuant to Section 11 (6) sentence 3 AMLA (whether it is acting on behalf of a beneficial owner).


Suspicious activity reports pursuant to Sections 43 et seq. GwG are to be submitted to the FIU in electronic form via the application program "goAML" (see under "Online Procedure"), which the FIU makes available to obligated parties as a reporting portal. A prerequisite for submitting a SAR is a one-time registration. The form template for this can be found on the Internet under "Forms".

Reports by fax are only possible in very limited exceptional cases, especially in the event of system malfunctions or if you are submitting a SAR for the very first time. You will find all the information you need on submitting SARs and registering under "Further links".

Special notes

Consequences of the messages

I. Initially: No execution of the transaction

After a SAR has been submitted, the underlying transaction (= transaction within the meaning of Section 1 (5) AMLA) may not be carried out initially, unless such a postponement of the transaction would impede the investigation of a criminal offense. Once a report has been sent, a transaction related to it may not be carried out before

  • the FIU or the public prosecutor's office have agreed to release the transaction


  • the third business day has elapsed after the obligor sent the SAR without a prohibition by the FIU or prosecutor's office. Saturdays are not considered as working days for the calculation. Note: Even if no prohibition has been issued by the FIU or the public prosecutor's office, you still remain fully responsible for the content of the decision to conclude the transaction or to refuse to conclude the transaction!

Important: You must not inform your contractual partner, the client of the transaction or other third parties that you have submitted a SAR (Section 47 (1) No. 1 AMLA)!

II. Release from Liability (Section 48 AMLA)

If a SAR or criminal complaint in connection with money laundering or terrorist financing proves to be unfounded in terms of its content, you cannot be held liable for it (Section 48 AMLA). This does not apply to facts that are proven to have been falsely reported due to gross negligence or intent.

III Protection of Reporting Employees (Section 49 (4) AMLA)

If your employees submit a SAR or if you submit a SAR as an employee of an obliged party, this must not result in any disadvantages for the existing employment relationship.


You must send the SAR to the FIU without delay as soon as one of the indications listed under "Prerequisites" is available.

Processing time

With the help of the "goAML" portal originating from the United Nations (UN), analysts at the FIU can evaluate correlations with other data from comparable cases more quickly and identify new money laundering or terrorist financing strategies at an earlier stage. As a result, you can expect to have results in so-called deadline cases, where your intended transactions are stopped first, sooner than before. This way, if your suspicions are not confirmed, you will be able to release transactions and close your deal more quickly.

Online procedures

Legal bases

Status: 18.12.2022

Responsible for editing: Bayerisches Staatsministerium des Innern, für Sport und Integration

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  • Online transactions, Bavaria-wide
  • Online transactions, locally limited
  • Prefillable Form, Bavaria-wide
  • Legal bases, Bavaria-wide
  • Legal bases, locally limited
  • Fees, Bavaria-wide
  • Fees, locally limited
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