MEPs approve tougher anti-money laundering directive

21 May 15

The European Union’s fourth anti-money laundering directive, which strengthens the existing framework on tax evasion and terrorist financing, was approved by the European Parliament yesterday.

Following this, EU member states will for the first time be required to keep central registers of information on the last ‘beneficial’ owners of corporate and other legal entities, as well as trusts, in a bid to ‘step up the fight’ against tax crimes and terrorist financing.

‘The central registers will be accessible to the authorities and their financial intelligence units (without any restriction), to “obliged entities” (such as banks doing their “customer due diligence” duties), and also to the public (although public access may be subject to online registration of the person requesting it and to a fee to cover administrative costs),’ the Parliament stated.

New rules making it easier to trace funds were also approved. Banks, auditors, lawyers, real estate agents and casinos, according to the directive, will be made to follow specific reporting obligations on suspicious transactions made by their clients.

Member states have two years to transpose the anti-money laundering directive into their national laws, while the transfers of funds regulation will be directly applicable in all member states 20 days after its publication in the EU Official Journal.

The Federation of European Accountants (FEE) welcomed the revised directive and the ‘high standards it promotes’.

‘Accountants and auditors across Europe play an important role in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing with their day-to-day work,’ the federation said.

It added that it was ‘committed to this fight’, which it believes is a shared responsibility for society as a whole.

  • Judith Ugwumadu
    Judith Ugwumadu

    Judith writes about public finance, public services and economics across Public Finance International and Public Finance. She previously undertook reporting stints at Financial Adviser, Global Security Finance and The Sunday Express.

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