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Strengthened EU rules to prevent money laundering and fight terrorism financing enter into force today
Today, the 5th Anti-Money laundering Directive has entered into force following its publication in the EU's Official Journal. Proposed by the Commission in July 2016, the new rules bring more transparency on the real owners of companies and tackle risks of terrorist financing.
Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality said: "This is another important step to strengthen the EU framework to combat financial crime and terrorist financing. The 5th Anti-Money laundering directive will make the fight against money laundering more efficient. We must close all loopholes: gaps in one Member State will have an impact on all others. I urge Member States to stay true to their commitment and update their national rules as soon as possible." The new rules introduce stricter transparency requirements, including full public access to the beneficial ownership registers for companies, greater transparency in the registries of beneficial ownership of trusts, and interconnection of these registers. The key improvements also include: limiting the use of anonymous payments through pre-paid cards, including virtual currency exchange platforms under the scope of the anti-money laundering rules; widening customer verification requirements; requiring stronger checks on high-risk third countries as well as more powers for and closer cooperation between national Financial Intelligence Units. The 5th Anti-Money laundering directive also increases the cooperation and exchange of information between anti-money laundering and prudential supervisors, including with the European Central Bank. The Juncker Commission has made the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing one of its priorities.This proposal was the first initiative of the Action Plan to step up the fight against terrorist financing following the terror attacks and part of a broader drive to boost tax transparency and tackle tax abuse in the aftermath of the Panama Papers revelations. Member States will have to implement these new rules into their national legislation before 10 January 2020. In addition, in May 2018 the Commission invited the European Supervisory Authorities (European Central Bank, European Banking Authority, European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority, European Securities and Markets Authority) to a joint working group to improve the practical coordination of anti-money laundering supervision of financial institutions. Work in this group is now ongoing and a first exchange with Member States is planned in September. For more information see a factsheet on the main changes brought by the 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive.