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EU Commission steps up fight against money laundering

© EU Commission

The EU Commission yesterday published a new plan for member states to increase their efforts to fight money laundering and the financing of terrorist activity.

“We need to put an end to dirty money infiltrating our financial system,” said Valdis Dombrovskis, Commissioner for financial services.

Today 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 action plan is built on six pillars:

The implementation of EU rules by member states, without which no plan has a chance of succeeding;
Not only common rules across the EU, but also common guidelines for implementing the rules – something that still often differs from country to country;

EU-level supervision in the place of national supervision – something that is certain to be greeted with opposition by some member states;

Coordination and support for national financial intelligence units, which identify transactions and activities that might point towards criminal activity;

Public-private cooperation, for example between banks and police, to ensure the most effective exchange of information;

Improving and reinforcing the global role of the EU in this area.

The Commission has also decided to update its list of high-risk third countries, last updated in 2018. Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ethiopia, Guyana, Laos, Sri Lanka and Tunisia have been removed from the list.

New arrivals are the Bahamas, Barbados, Botswana, Cambodia, Ghana, Jamaica, Mauritius, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Panama and Zimbabwe.

Fighting money laundering is as relevant now as before the pandemic,” Commissioner Dombrovskis said at a press conference.

In fact, coronavirus-related crime and the laundering of its proceeds is on the rise, according to Europol and national law enforcement authorities. Today’s plan will protect our financial system and make sure that the internal market works properly and smoothly.”

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times