EU overhauls anti-money laundering rules

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EU
Image: Council of Europe

The EU aims to strengthen its anti-money laundering and countering terrorism financing (AML/CFT) rules.

The package also includes a proposal for the creation of a new EU authority to fight money laundering. It is designed to improve the detection of suspicious transactions and activities, and to close loopholes used by criminals to launder illicit proceeds or finance terrorist activities through the financial system.

According to the EU’s Security Union Strategy for 2020-2025, the EU’s framework for anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing will also help to protect Europeans from terrorism and organised crime.

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“Money laundering poses a clear and present threat to citizens, democratic institutions, and the financial system,” said Mairead McGuinness, Commissioner responsible for financial services, financial stability and Capital Markets Union on July 20.

“The scale of the 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,” she added.

The Commission also proposed an EU-wide limit of €10,000 on large cash payments. This EU-wide limit is high enough not to put into question the euro as legal tender and recognises the vital role of cash. Limits already exist in about two-thirds of Member States, but amounts vary. National limits under €10,000 can remain in place. Limiting large cash payments makes it harder for criminals to launder dirty money. In addition, providing anonymous crypto-asset wallets will be prohibited, just as anonymous bank accounts are already prohibited by EU AML/CFT rules.


The EU framework against money laundering also includes the regulation on the mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders, the directive on combating money laundering by criminal law, the directive laying down rules on the use of financial and other information to combat serious crimes,  the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, and the European system of financial supervision.


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Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.

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