25 April 2024

European Union Anti-money Laundering Measures

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Niall Hearty of Rahman Ravelli outlines the EU's new laws that aim to strengthen its battle against money laundering
European Union Criminal Law
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Niall Hearty of Rahman Ravelli outlines the EU's new laws that aim to strengthen its battle against money laundering

The European Parliament has adopted a series of laws designed to boost the European Union's (EU's) fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.

The measures include:

  • Giving authorities, journalists and civil society organisations access to new registers and information sources.
  • Introducing an EU limit of EUR 10 000 on large cash payments.
  • Applying due diligence rules to football clubs and agents from 2029.
  • Creating a new EU Agency to directly oversee the riskiest entities.

The EU is aiming to give people with a legitimate interest - including journalists, authorities and supervisory bodies - immediate, direct and free access to beneficial ownership information that will be held in the new EU Member State registries. These registries will be interconnected and will contain data going back at least five years.

The new laws also give Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) more powers to analyse and detect money laundering and terrorist financing and to suspend suspicious transactions. They include enhanced due diligence measures, checks on customers' identity, and responsibilities placed on so-called obliged entities - such as banks, crypto asset managers and estate agents - to report suspicious activities to FIUs and other competent authorities.

From 2029, top-tier professional football clubs involved in high-value financial transactions relating to investors, sponsors, advertisers and player transfers will have to verify customers' identities, monitor transactions and report any suspicious activity to FIUs.

The legislation also includes enhanced vigilance provisions regarding ultra-rich individuals (those with a total wealth of over EUR 50 000 000, excluding their main residence), an EU-wide limit of EUR 10 000 on cash payments (except between private individuals in a non-professional context), and measures to ensure compliance with targeted financial sanctions and avoid sanctions being circumvented.

The supervision of the new rules will be conducted by a new authority - the Authority for Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AMLA). AMLA is to be established in Frankfurt. It will directly supervise the riskiest financial entities, intervene if there is a suggestion of supervisory failure and will oversee the implementation of targeted financial sanctions.

The new measures are contained in the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism ( AML/CFT) package. They will now need to be published in the EU's Official Journal to become legally binding.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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