Strengthened EU rules to tackle money laundering, tax avoidance and terrorism financing enter into force
Today the Commission also publishes a report which will support Member State authorities in better addressing money laundering risks in practice. As required by the new directive, the Commission assessed the money laundering and terrorist financing risks of different sectors and financial products. The report published today identifies the areas most at risk and the most widespread techniques used by criminals to launder illicit funds.
Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President said: "Laundered money is oxygen to crime, terrorism and tax-avoidance. We need to cut off its supply as best we can. Today's stronger rules are a big step forward but we now need quick agreement on the further improvements the Commission proposed last July."
Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said: “Terrorists and criminals still find ways to finance their activities and to launder illicit gains back into the economy. The new rules as of today are crucial to closing further loopholes. I urge all Member States to put them in place without delay: lower standards in one country will weaken the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing across the EU. I also call for quick agreement on the further revisions proposed by the Commission following the "Panama Papers" to increase transparency of beneficial ownership."
Strengthening the existing rules
The Fourth Anti-Money Laundering reinforces the existing rules by introducing the following changes:
- reinforcing the risk assessment obligation for banks, lawyers, and accountants;
- setting clear transparency requirements about beneficial ownership for companies. This information will be stored in a central register, such as commercial registers, and will be available to national authorities and obliged entities
- facilitating cooperation and exchange of information between Financial Intelligence Units from different Member States to identify and follow suspicious transfers of money to prevent and detect crime or terrorist activities;
- establishing a coherent policy towards non-EU countries that have deficient anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing rules;
- reinforcing the sanctioning powers of competent authorities.
In July 2016, the Commission adopted a proposal to further reinforce these EU rules on anti-money laundering to counter terrorist financing and increase transparency about who really owns companies and trusts. The Commission calls on the European Parliament and the Council to finalise this legislative work as soon as possible, so the new rules can enter into force quickly. Building on the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive, these new rules will create a robust EU anti-money laundering framework.
More information available at:http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-17-1732_en.htm