Nicola Sharp of business crime solicitors Rahman Ravelli welcomes what she sees as a much-needed initiative.
The European Commission has outlined a six-point plan to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing.
The plan details the steps the Commission will take in the next 12 months to improve the enforcement and co-ordination of European Union rules to combat such crime. It involves ensuring EU rules are applied effectively throughout all member states through better monitoring. The plan also proposes a single EU rulebook by early 2021 for all member states to implement, in order to prevent criminals exploiting variations between individual states’ rules. An EU-level supervisor will be established to ensure consistency in how EU members enforce rules. Measures are being devised so that there is better co-ordination between EU countries’ financial intelligence units. Improving judicial and police co-ordination and co-operation among member states, working with private-sector organisations and encouraging greater global cooperation to counter money laundering also form part of the plan.
European Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said: “We are further bolstering our defences to fight money laundering and terrorist financing with a comprehensive and far-reaching action plan. There should be no weak links in our rules and their implementation. We are committed to delivering on all these actions—swiftly and consistently—over the next 12 months.”
The proposals, which are open to consultation until July 29, are a response to the Commission’s anti-money laundering report from July 2019. This pinpointed weaknesses in attempts to tackle money laundering.
While the precise details of the new measures are yet to be finalised, the proposals are a welcome attempt to establish focused, sweeping powers across the entire EU. Coming after a wave of sizeable European banking scandals in the past few years - such as Danske Bank’s €200 billion money laundering scandal, ING’s €775 million fine for compliance failings and Deutsche Bank’s involvement in an illicit scheme concerning criminal funds – such efforts are much-needed.
If effective, they will ensure strong and consistent supervision, information exchange and co-operation between EU members.