EU Commission publishes Anti-Money Laundering legislative package

From CFE Tax Advisers Europe: The European Commission has now published its Anti-Money Laundering legislative package, which will upgrade the existing EU anti-money laundering legislative (AML) framework.

The package consists of four proposals, namely:

Significantly, the package will establish an EU Anti-Money Laundering supervisory body, the Anti-Money Laundering Authority, or AMLA, which would commence operating in 2024 and is envisaged to employ around 350 people. The AMLA will establish a single integrated system of supervision across the EU, be given direct supervisory powers at EU level to monitor and coordinate national supervisory bodies, as well as be given the ability to give fines and directly supervise cross-border financial companies. The AMLA will also coordinate with national Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) and facilitate joint analyses to detect illicit financial flows.

The package will also create a single EU Rulebook for AML across the EU, including rules on Customer Due Diligence, Beneficial Ownership and the powers and task of supervisors and Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs). Existing national registers of bank accounts will be linked to the system, providing access to FIUs on bank accounts and deposit boxes. It is also proposed that law enforcement will be provided access to the system.

Other notable elements of the package include plans to extend the full application of the AML framework to to the crypto sector, impose an EU-wide cash payment limit of EUR 10,000 and create a “black-list” and “grey-list”  based on the recommendations made by the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog, Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Any country listed in recommendations by FATF will be listed by the EU in either the “black-list” and a “grey-list”, and measures will be applied by the EU on the basis of the risk level. The EU will also be able to list additional countries not subject to a FATF recommendation, based on its own assessment of risk level to the EU.

Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said of the package: “Every fresh money laundering scandal is one scandal too many – and a wake-up call that our work to close the gaps in our financial system is not yet done. We have made huge strides in recent years and our EU AML rules are now among the toughest in the world. But they now need to be applied consistently and closely supervised to make sure they really bite. This is why we are today taking these bold steps to close the door on money laundering and stop criminals from lining their pockets with ill-gotten gains.”

The package will now be considered by Parliament and Council. The proposals set out that the EU AML Authority would commence its duties from 2024 onwards, with the direct supervision role to commence later, after the Directive is transposed and the regulatory framework starts to apply.

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