Tougher EU money laundering rules come into force

27 Jun 17

Tougher rules on tax avoidance, money laundering and terrorism financing came into force yesterday across the European Union.

The Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive was hailed as a “big step forward” by commission vice president Frans Timmermans.

But he added: “We now need quick agreement on the further improvements the commission proposed last July.”

This proposal would further reinforce money-laundering rules and increase transparency around who really owns companies.

Věra Jourová, commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality, urged member states to incorporate the rules into national laws speedily.

“Lower standards in one country will weaken the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing across the EU,” she said.

“I also call for quick agreement on the further revisions proposed by the Commission following the ‘Panama Papers’ to increase transparency of beneficial ownership.”

The changes included in the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive:

- reinforce the risk assessment obligation for banks, lawyers and accountants;

- set clear transparency requirements about beneficial ownership for companies, which will be stored in a central register;

- facilitate cooperation and exchange of information between financial intelligence units from different member states to identify and follow suspicious transfers of money;

- establishes a coherent policy towards non-EU countries that have deficient anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing rules;

- reinforces the sanctioning powers of competent authorities.

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