New EU rules to combat money-laundering adopted

- Thursday, 25/04/2024, 10:50

The European Parliament has adopted a package of laws strengthening the EU’s toolkit to fight money-laundering and terrorist financing.

New EU rules to combat money-laundering adopted -0
New rules and a new watchdog will help the EU in its fight against dirty money flows. © vladstar / Adobe Stock

The new laws ensure that people with a legitimate interest, including journalists, media professionals, civil society organisations, competent authorities, and supervisory bodies, will have immediate, unfiltered, direct and free access to beneficial ownership information held in national registries and interconnected at EU level. In addition to current information, the registries will also include data going back at least five years.

The laws also give Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) more powers to analyse and detect money laundering and terrorist financing cases as well as to suspend suspicious transactions.

Wide-reaching due diligence

The new laws include enhanced due diligence measures and checks on customers’ identity, after which so-called obliged entities (e.g. banks, assets and crypto assets managers or real and virtual estate agents) have to report suspicious activities to FIUs and other competent authorities. From 2029, top-tier professional football clubs involved in high-value financial transactions with investors or sponsors, including advertisers and the transfer of players will also have to verify their customers’ identities, monitor transactions, and report any suspicious transaction to FIUs.

The legislation also contains enhanced vigilance provisions regarding ultra-rich individuals (total wealth worth at least EUR 50 000 000, excluding their main residence), an EU-wide limit of EUR 10 000 on cash payments, except between private individuals in a non-professional context, and measures to ensure compliance with targeted financial sanctions and avoid sanctions being circumvented.

Central watchdog

To supervise the new rules on combatting money laundering, a new authority - the Authority for Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AMLA) - will be established in Frankfurt. AMLA will be charged with directly supervising the riskiest financial entities, intervening in case of supervisory failures, acting as a central hub for supervisors and mediating disputes between them. AMLA will also supervise the implementation of targeted financial sanctions.

The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) package consists of the sixth Anti-Money Laundering (AML) directive (adopted with 513 votes in favour, 25 against, and 33 abstentions), the EU “single rulebook” regulation (adopted with 479 votes in favour, 61 against, and 32 abstentions), and the Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA) regulation (adopted with 482 votes in favour, 47 against, and 38 abstentions).

Next steps

The laws still need to be formally adopted by the Council, too, before publication in the EU’s Official Journal.

By adopting the law, Parliament is responding to the demands of citizens put forward in the conclusions of the Conference of the Future of Europe, notably proposal 16(1) and 16(2) on preventing tax evasion and cooperating on corporate taxation.