EU tightens anti-money laundering rules

Published December 7th, 2022 - 07:54 GMT
EU money laundering rules
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Brussels: The Council of the European Union Wednesday agreed on new regulations to tighten constraints on money laundering and terrorism financing.

By limiting large cash payments, the EU will make it harder for criminals to launder dirty money, said the Council which represents the 27 EU member states in a statement.

An EU-wide maximum limit of 10,000 euro ($10,495) is set for cash payments. EU Member states will have the flexibility to impose a lower maximum limit if they wish, it noted.

Zbynek Stanjura, Minister for Finance of the Czech Republic which holds the current EU Presidency, said "terrorists and those who finance them are not welcome in Europe."
"In order to launder dirty money, criminal individuals and organizations had to look for loopholes in our existing rules which are already quite strict. But our intention is to close these loopholes further, and to apply even stricter rules in all EU member states. Large cash payments beyond 10,000 euro will become impossible," he stressed.

Trying to stay anonymous when buying or selling crypto-assets will become much more difficult. Hiding behind multiple layers of ownership of companies won't work anymore. It will even become difficult to launder dirty money via jewelers or goldsmiths.

The new rules will be extended to the entire crypto sector, obliging all crypto-asset service providers to conduct due diligence on their customers. This means that they will have to verify facts and information about their customers. In its position, the Council demands crypto-asset service providers to apply customer due diligence measures when carrying out transactions amounting to 1,000 euro or more.

Third-party financing intermediaries, persons trading in precious metals, precious stones and cultural goods, will also be subject to the obligations of the regulation, as will jewelers, horologists and goldsmiths.

Third countries that are listed by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF, the international standard setter in anti-money laundering) will also be listed by the EU. There will accordingly be two EU lists, a "black list" and a "gray list", reflecting the FATF listings.

On 20 July 2021, the European Commission presented its package of legislative proposals to strengthen the EU's rules on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism.
Now that the Council has agreed its position on the anti-money laundering regulation, it is ready to start trialogue negotiations with the European Parliament in order to agree on a final version of the texts.

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