Brussels, 5 February 2013
Anti-Money Laundering: Stronger rules to respond to new threats
The Commission has today adopted two proposals to reinforce the EU's existing rules on anti-money laundering and fund transfers. The threats associated with money laundering and terrorist financing are constantly evolving, which requires regular updates of the rules.
Internal Market and Services Commissioner Michel Barnier said: "The Union is at the forefront of international efforts to combat the laundering of the proceeds of crime. Flows of dirty money can damage the stability and reputation of the financial sector, while terrorism shakes the very foundations of our society. In addition to the criminal law approach, a preventive effort via the financial system can help to stop money-laundering. Our aim is to propose clear rules that reinforce the vigilance by banks, lawyers, accountants and all other professional concerned."
Home affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said: "Dirty money has no place in our economy, whether it comes from drug deals, the illegal guns trade or trafficking in human beings. We must make sure that organised crime cannot launder its funds through the banking system or the gambling sector. To protect the legal economy, especially in times of crisis, there must be no legal loopholes for organised crime or terrorists to slip through. Our banks should never function as laundromats for mafia money, or enable the funding of terrorism."
Today's package, which complements other actions taken or planned by the Commission in respect of fight against crime, corruption and tax evasion, includes:
Both proposals fully take into account the latest Recommendations1 of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) (see MEMO/12/246), the world anti-money laundering body, and go further in a number of fields to promote the highest standards for anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing.
More specifically, both proposals provide for a more targeted and focussed risk-based approach.
In particular, the new Directive:
The two proposals foresee a reinforcement of the sanctioning powers of the competent authorities by introducing for instance a set of minimum principle-based rules to strengthen administrative sanctions and a requirement for them to coordinate actions when dealing with cross-border cases.
Further to the publication of a revised set of international standards in February 2012 (IP/12/357), the Commission decided to rapidly update the EU legislative framework to incorporate the necessary changes. In parallel, the Commission also undertook a review of the Third Anti-Money Laundering Directive that showed the need to update the existing legislative framework in order to address all identified shortcomings.
The proposed update of the legal rules will have to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers under the ordinary legislative procedure.