A coordination and support mechanism for Member State Financial Intelligence Units

In a nutshell, the Commission will propose to establish an EU mechanism to support the work of the FIUs. As you probably know, FIUs play a key role in identifying suspicious activities.

Effective application of EU rules

As noted in my previous article on AML initiatives at EU level, the Commission is keeping a close eye on the implementation of AML rules which have already been put into law. The 5th AML Directive was supposed to be transposed into law. As you might remember, Cyprus, Hungary, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain all received formal letters. In May 2020, the Commission sent additional letters of formal notice to Belgium, Czechia, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Luxembourg, Austria, Poland and the UK for only having partially transposed the 5th AML Directive. And that isn’t all. Actually there are plenty of concerns raised by the Commission on the failed implementation of the 4th AML Directive. Estonia was noticed in May, followed by Luxembourg, Slovakia and Slovenia in July 2020. Austria, Belgium and The Netherlands have been referred to the Court of Justice of the EU. So, as you can see, the EU is taking this very seriously even though it seems that sometimes they are taking their time.

A single EU rulebook

The Commission considers the current EU rules on AML as “”. I have my own opinions about the confusion some rules have been causing industry, but I will keep these to myself. Instead, let us focus on how the Commission finds that diverging interpretations of the rules in each Member State have caused

loopholes. To address this,   ”. This implies a Regulation. A Regulation compared to a Directive is that the

Enforcing EU-level criminal law provisions and information exchange.

former has to be implemented into national law as written (i.e. it itself becomes the law of the EU Member States), whereas a Directive focuses more on the results that need to be achieved and as such are free to decide how it is transposed into national law.

EU-level supervision

Member States are responsible to supervise the law individually in their own jurisdiction, but obviously the results have not been very satisfying. Therefore, also in the first quarter of 2021, the Commission will propose to set up an EU-level supervisor. Another step in the direction of EU having an active role in combatting crime. You might have heard of the recently set up European Public Prosecutor’s

Office. As stated on its website, it has “the    ”. It will be interesting to see how this new public prosecutor office will help shape the activities of the AML supervisor and in what capacities they will be working together. In any case there are other supervisory authorities in the EU such as the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority and the European Securities and Markets Authorities which will probably provide more of the blueprint of how this supervising body will be

Now this I find very interesting, and you might too, not least because the Commission eyes the private sector as a tool to fight money laundering. Within this context, the Commission

will issue “ ”. At the current time as AML regulation stands, FIUs are already obliged to share information on trends, etc. In any case, the Commission is very open at the moment about the form the exchange can take. Maybe an opportunity for you as an operator to help define the option that best suits you? Maybe, even to put you at the forefront of the debate?

The consultation

So, what does the consultation look like? It is set up as a questionnaire and seeks to find answers to inter alia the following questions: (1) How effective would more action at various levels of governance be to fight money laundering and terrorist financing.

(2) Should other tools be used by the EU to ensure effective implementation of the rules?

(3) What areas should be further harmonised in a future Regulation and what should remain a Directive?

(4) What other entities should be subject to AML rules?

set up. In any case, the purpose is “    ”.

(5) What actions are needed to facilitate the development of public-private partnerships. Apart from additional questions, the

consultation, of course, allows for any other information you might want to have added.

Greetings from Brussels and #StaySafeStayTuned

AUGUST 2020 27

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