Frankfurt To Host The EU's New Anti-Money Laundering Headquarters

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Niall Hearty of Rahman Ravelli details the decision-making process that led to the German city becoming the base for AMLA.
European Union Criminal Law
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Niall Hearty of Rahman Ravelli details the decision-making process that led to the German city becoming the base for AMLA.

The European Union's (EU's) new anti-money laundering (AML) watchdog will be based in Frankfurt.

Frankfurt beat bids from other cities to win the right to host the headquarters of the Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA).

When it comes into operation next year with a staff of more than 400 AML experts, AMLA will have the task of combating money laundering and terrorism financing across Europe.

AMLA was first proposed as an idea three years ago, when the European Commission assessed the need for a regional supervisory body to tackle Europe's "dirty money'' problem.

In 2022, the cities hoping to become AMLA's base submitted their applications. As well as Frankfurt, the contenders included Madrid, Vienna, Rome, Paris, Brussels, Vilnius, Riga and Dublin.

AMLA's location was decided by a European Parliament and Council vote. Frankfurt is also home to the European Central Bank (ECB).

The vote followed assessment of the approach to addressing financial crime risks taken by the EU Member States who had a city applying to host AMLA. This involved scrutiny of sources such as Financial Action Task Force (FATF) reports. Public hearings were held for cities' representatives to answer questions and address any concerns about such reports and other matters, including their countries' financial ties to Russia.

National and international accessibility, the availability of essential services for AMLA staff and the need for geographical balance in the EU's institutional decentralisation were also considerations in the vote, as were the capacity and cost of the proposed new building.

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