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The European Commission presents proposals for anti-money laundering

By Joy Dumasia

July 21, 2021

  • Europe
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The European Commission has presented an ambitious package of legislative proposals to strengthen the EU’s anti-money laundering and countering terrorism financing (AML/CFT) rules. The package also includes the proposal for the creation of a new EU authority to fight money laundering. 

The measures recognise the emerging challenges linked to technological innovation, with the crypto sector a particular focus for rule-makers. Limits on hard cash payments are also to be harmonised, with the Commission proposes an EU-wide ceiling of €10,000.

At present, only specific categories of crypto-asset service providers are included in the scope of EU AML/CFT rules. The proposed reform will extend these rules to the entire crypto sector, obliging all service providers to conduct due diligence on their customers.

The Commission says the amendments will ensure full traceability of crypto-asset transfers, such as bitcoin, and prevent and detect their possible use for money laundering or terrorism financing.

In addition, existing national registers of bank accounts will be connected, providing faster access for FIUs to information on bank accounts and safe deposit boxes. The Commission will also provide law enforcement authorities with access to this system, speeding up financial investigations and recovering criminal assets in cross-border cases.

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

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