On 20 July, the European Commission presented a package of legislative proposals to strengthen the EU’s anti-money laundering and countering terrorism financing (AML/CFT) rules. It includes the creation of a new European authority dedicated to the fight against money laundering (‘EU AML authority’ or AMLA). The AMLA is not intended to replace national authorities, but rather to coordinate them and ensure that European rules are applied correctly. To this end, the Agency will carry out direct supervision of the entities identified as the riskiest in the cross-border financial sector and indirect supervision of other entities in the financial and non-financial sector. It will also have a support and coordination role for the national financial intelligence units (FIUs). The new EU Agency should legally exist, according to the Commission, at the beginning of 2023 and be operational in 2024 for all tasks assigned to it, except for its direct supervisory activities. Direct supervision will not be effective until 2026.
Regulation establishing a new EU AML/CFT Authority: https://ec.europa.eu/finance/docs/law/210720-proposal-aml-cft-authority_en.pdf
In addition to the creation of a new EU agency, the European Commission proposed :
- a revision of the 2015 Regulation on Transfers of Funds: https://ec.europa.eu/finance/docs/law/210720-proposal-funds-transfers_en.pdf ;
- a new regulation to harmonise the application of the rules across the EU: https://ec.europa.eu/finance/docs/law/210720-proposal-aml-cft_en.pdf ;
- and a proposal for a Sixth Anti-Money Laundering Directive: https://ec.europa.eu/finance/docs/law/210720-proposal-amld6_en.pdf
Among the major new features is the extension of the list of entities subject to EU anti-money laundering rules. The European Commission is proposing to cover all types and categories of crypto-asset service providers from now on, as well as crowdfunding services providers, which are not covered by the current EU rules, mortgage credit intermediaries and consumer credit providers that are not financial institutions, as well as operators working in the framework of residency-by-investment schemes. The European Commission is also proposing the establishment of a cross-border system to link national registers on bank accounts, in order to enable law enforcement authorities to quickly determine whether a suspect holds bank accounts in other Member States and thus facilitate financial investigations. The rules are also more detailed in several areas, such as policies, internal controls and procedures, customer due diligence and transparency of beneficial ownership.
The legislative package will be discussed by the European Parliament and Council. The AML authority should be operational in 2024 and will start the work of direct supervision slightly later, once the directive has been transposed and the new rules start to apply.