Out-Law News Lesedauer: 1 Min.

EU bodies agree deal on expanding reach of AML rules

The European Parliament and the Council of Ministers have agreed new anti-money laundering rules.

The deal seeks to enhance the EU's ability to fight money laundering, the financing of terrorism and evasion of sanctions.

The agreement on elements of the sixth Anti Money Laundering (AML) Directive, will result in the harmonising of rules throughout the EU and the granting of power to Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) to analyse and detect illicit activities. New measures will also allow authorities and the media to see who owns and controls companies.

“The new legislation will definitely help in the fight against money laundering and financing of terrorism. However, it comes with a price, the Financial Intelligence Units will have more powers and access to more information such as bank accounts of ultimate beneficial owners,” said corporate law expert Emile Doelwijt of Pinsent Masons.

Doelwijt said that there is greater awareness of money laundering in the Netherlands than elsewhere, as evidenced by the apparent unwillingness of Dutch banks to set up a football transfer market clearing house in the Netherlands over fears of money laundering risks.

The directive includes steps to track crypto asset transfers and imposes strict due diligence measures on crypto firms to prevent money laundering. It broadens the kinds of companies that must comply with the rules so that most of the crypto sector must now perform proper checks on their clients.

The deal also highlights the importance of having records of beneficial owners to reveal who truly owns or controls legal entities. The measures will affect a wide range of businesses, such as banks, real estate agencies, as well as the crypto sector, requiring them to do more checks on their customers.

An EU-wide cap of €10,000 on cash payments will be introduced. This is meant to make it more difficult for criminals to launder money. Extra checks will be required for transactions involving countries with weak anti-money laundering controls.

The deal must be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council before it can come into force.

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