MEPs approve stronger instruments to prevent and monitor money laundering in Europe

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Members of the European Parliament today approved the review of the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive, which constitutes the main legal instrument in the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing. The agreement was reached during trialogue negotiations in December.

Recent terrorist attacks have brought to light emerging new trends, in particular regarding the way terrorist groups finance and conduct their operations. Currently, gaps still exist in the oversight of many financial means used by terrorists, from cash and trade in cultural artefacts to virtual currencies and anonymous pre-paid cards. In addition to terrorist financing issues, offshore jurisdictions are often used as locations of intermediary entities that hide the real beneficiary of a transaction, often to avoid or evade tax.

This Directive sets out additional measures which reinforces transparency of financial transactions and of the register of beneficial owner, which indicates who really owns a company or a trust. The investigative committee set up by the European Parliament after the Panama Papers, the PANA committee, identified this legislation as an essential one to close the loopholes of our financial system and pressed on the Commission and Council to ensure its proper implementation.

Petr Ježek, ALDE Shadow in LIBE Committee and President of the new TAX3 Committee comments:

It took us more than a year to reach a deal on a new anti-money laundering directive, which is an essential part of the EU regulatory framework to combat financial crime and terrorist financing.

The national anti-money laundering units’ powers will be strongly reinforced, thus allowing them to better follow the money and detect suspicious transactions. These new rules provide for more transparency, including public access to the information about who really owns the companies or trusts involved in a financial transaction, which I believe is the best deterrent to money laundering.“

Nils Torvalds, ALDE Shadow in ECON Committee and Coordinator of the new TAX3 Committee says:

“With these updates of the anti-money laundry directive, we can indeed close some of the loopholes that have been used to finance terrorism and launder money so I can welcome today’s vote. At the same time, this is only one piece in the puzzle. If we are to actually tackle these problems, it will take real political will from the national governments to properly implement these new rules”

The newly created TAX3 Committee, chaired by ALDE, has the mandate to monitor the proper implementation of this text in EU Member States during its 12 month term.

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