Author: Nicola Sharp 19 July 2021
The European Commission is set to take the first decisive steps towards creating a new anti-money-laundering authority.
The Commission, which is the executive branch of the European Union, is expected to table legislation this month to create the Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA), which should begin operating in 2024.
From 2026, the AMLA will be able to supervise directly some cross-border financial companies and impose fines involving millions of euros on firms that breach money laundering rules.
Moves to create the AMLA are the European Union’s (EU’s) most significant action in its attempt to tackle illicit finance. Suspicious transactions involving hundreds of billions of euros are estimated to be conducted every year across Europe.
There has been a series of scandals involving various financial institutions, relating to the movement of money between countries. But the EU’s efforts to tackle the wrongdoing has been limited, largely due to the varying – and sometimes ineffective – approaches taken to enforcement by member states. Some countries have even shown reluctance to implement fully the anti-money laundering directives introduced by the EU.
The EU hopes the creation of the AMLA will help its attempts to harmonise member states’ regulatory practices, encourage cooperation between states’ enforcement agencies and boost the flow of information across borders. It is working towards a single EU money laundering rule book and new rules on crypto assets.
The AMLA could prove to be a major step forward. The Commission has been working on ways to improve tackling money laundering in financial institutions across Europe for a year. Having a designated body such as the AMLA will help member states act simultaneously when it comes to both adopting and using anti-money laundering legislation effectively in order to combat the problems posed by money laundering.
Nicola is known for her fraud, civil recovery and business crime expertise, her experience of leading the largest financial disputes and multinational investigations and her skills in devising preventative measures and conducting internal investigations for corporates.