The European Union is preparing to set up a money laundering authority to coordinate the national supervisory authorities. According to a media report based on EU documents, the block also plans to enact new rules to increase transparency for cryptocurrency transfers.
Europe is stepping up its efforts to combat money laundering at Union level
In response to calls for anti-money laundering (AML) enforcement across Europe, the European Commission is likely to propose the creation of a new anti-money laundering agency (AMLA). According to Reuters, the agency is to become the “heart” of an integrated supervisory system that also consists of national authorities.
In the absence of a pan-European anti-money laundering agency, the executive power in Brussels has so far relied mainly on national regulators to enforce their AML rules. Working together has not always been satisfactory when it comes to stopping dirty money, the report said. Therefore, the authors of the documents insist:
Money laundering, terrorist financing and organized crime remain major issues that should be addressed at Union level.
The new agency is expected to help prevent money laundering and terrorist financing cases in the European Union “by directly overseeing and making decisions about some of the financial sector’s riskiest debtors in the cross-border sector”.
The agency will coordinate national supervisory authorities to enforce common European rules more effectively. Brussels also wants to make the EU’s AML rules directly binding for member states in order to prevent criminals from exploiting differences between national regulatory systems.
EU issues stricter reporting requirements for crypto service providers
Another suggestion from the cited documents is to adopt new European requirements for service providers who work with crypto assets. These platforms will be required to collect and make accessible data on the originators and beneficiaries of cryptocurrency transfers. The scope of EU financial services rules does not currently cover such transactions and EU officials warn:
The absence of such rules exposes crypto-asset holders to money laundering and terrorist financing risks as illegal cash flows can occur through transfers of crypto-assets.
According to Sven Giegold, EU parliamentarian for the Greens, the EU Commission has put together a strong package against money laundering. “With uniform standards and more centralized supervision, the EU Commission is introducing important improvements to enable a consistent approach to financial crime,” emphasized Giegold.
The MEP added that in the meantime, the EU should take legal action against those EU members who fail to properly enforce their AML rules. For the new regulations to come into force, final approval by the EP and the EU member states is required.
What do you think of the proposals in the EU documents cited in the report? Let us know in the comment section below.
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