No weak links: EU Commission publishes action plan for unified money laundering fight

14 May 2020

The EU Commission has published an action plan aimed at ensuring the EU puts on a more unified front in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. A public consultation on the action plan has been launched and will remain open until 29 July 2020.

The action plan, to be delivered over the next 12 months, builds on six pillars:

  1. effective application of EU rules – requiring both implementation at national level as well as monitoring at EU level;
  2. a single EU rulebook – to close loopholes created by divergent rule interpretation;
  3. EU-level supervision – awaiting a Commission proposal in Q1 2021 to identify who the supervisor will be;
  4. a coordination and support mechanism for member states financial intelligence units – permitting effective action between member state hubs;
  5. enforcing EU-level criminal law provisions and information exchange – guidance to be published on the role of public-private partnerships to enhance data sharing; and
  6. a stronger EU in the world – wanting to be seen as a strong global actor in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.

Acknowledging the strong anti-money laundering framework which exists within the EU, the action plan aims to tackle discrepancies in its application and enforcement. Such discrepancies create weak links which are then exploited by money launderers.

Alongside the publication of the action plan, the EU has published a more transparent methodology to identify high-risk third countries that have strategic deficiencies in their national anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing regimes.

Finally, the Commission has also adopted a new list of high-risk third countries in respect of money laundering. However, in light of delays and complications due to Covid-19, the new list does not formally come into force until 1 October 2020.

We need to put an end to dirty money infiltrating our financial system. 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.

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