European Commission proposes new agency in anti-money laundering overhaul News
© WikiMedia (Sébastien Bertrand)
European Commission proposes new agency in anti-money laundering overhaul

The European Commission put forth Tuesday a package of legislative proposals in an effort to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism in the EU. The package included a proposal to create a new anti-money laundering watchdog.

Altogether, the package consists of four proposals. First, a regulation establishing a new EU anti-money laundering Agency. Secondly, a regulation on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing. Also included are a sixth directive on the mechanisms to be put in place by the Member States for achieving the second proposal and a revision of the 2015 regulation on information accompanying transfers of funds and certain crypto-assets.

The new Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA) is to be tasked with promoting cooperation among the financial intelligence units (FIUs) of the various member states. The AMLA will serve as the EU’s central authority and coordinate member state national authorities to ensure accurate and consistent application of EU rules. Additionally, the AMLA will directly supervise some of the riskiest financial institutions operating in a large number of Member States or require immediate action to address imminent risks. It will also monitor and coordinate national supervisors responsible for other financial entities and coordinate supervisors of non-financial entities.

Other provisions within the proposals include a single EU rulebook for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT); full application of the anti-money laundering and CFT rules to the cryptocurrency sector; an EU-wide limit of €10,000 on large cash payments; and directives on cooperating with non-EU countries to combat global anti-money laundering.

Commissioners Valdis Dombrovskis and Mairead McGuinness called the AMLA rules “among the toughest in the world” and urged the Member States to apply them consistently and under close supervision so that they “really bite.” The commissioners stated of the legislative package:

The scale of the [money laundering] problem cannot be underestimated and the loopholes that criminals can exploit need to be closed. Today’s package significantly ramps up our efforts to stop dirty money being washed through the financial system. We are increasing coordination and cooperation between authorities in member states, and creating a new EU AML authority. These measures will help us protect the integrity of the financial system and the single market.