Yesterday, 9th July, the European Parliament adopted its amendments to the resolution on the fight against money laundering. It is considered certain that the text will be finally adopted this afternoon by a large majority of Christian Democrats, Socialists, Liberals, Greens and far Left. This resolution is a huge success for the European fight against money laundering and contains many of my long-standing demands. The draft resolution comes from us Greens. The money laundering scandals worth billions which have shaken Europe in recent years are a clear indication of this: We need stricter rules and new EU institutions for the fight against money laundering and financial crime. Above all, we need the consistent enforcement of existing law – throughout Europe.
Particularly in times of unprecedented public spending due to the corona economic stimulus programmes, it is important that money does not trickle away in criminal structures but benefits the common good. That is why this resolution comes at exactly the right time. The demands of the European Parliament must become the yardstick for the announced legislative proposals of the European Commission to combat money laundering in the coming year. The Commission’s ambitions must not fall behind the European Parliament’s resolution.
Current money laundering rules must finally be consistently implemented not only on paper but also in practice. There is a gaping hole between theory and reality in this regard. This applies not only to the fifth and fourth Money Laundering Directives, on which the EU Commission recently initiated infringement proceedings against some Member States. After all, central anti-money laundering rules have been in force since 2007 with the third directive and there are proven deficiencies in implementation. The Commission, as guardian of the Treaties, should also initiate infringement proceedings with regard to the inadequate implementation of the third Money Laundering Directive. The evidence is available in the cases of Malta and Cyprus, as well as in the case of Germany. In addition to the completeness of the transposition, its correctness must also be verified. The effective implementation of the common rules is a prerequisite for better combating money laundering in Europe.
With green European greetings,
Central elements of the draft resolution:
EU Anti-Money Laundering Supervisor
– Welcomes the plans of the EU Commission to present a proposal for a European anti-money laundering supervisor within the next 12 months.
EU FIU and financial police
– Supports a coordination and support mechanism for national FIUs;
– Calls on the EU Commission to consider the creation of an EU FIU;
– As a European financial police, Europol should be given the right to initiate cross-border investigations itself.
Strong law enforcement and golden visas
– Call on the Commission to start infringement procedures for the incorrect implementation of EU money laundering legislation;
– Call for infringement procedures against Member States concerning Golden Visas and Golden Passports;
– Demands that the EU Commission harmonise sanctions for breaches of anti-money laundering rules.
Closing loopholes for beneficial owners
– The inadequate data quality of national transparency registers should be subject to a Europe-wide review
– Common rules for the identification of beneficial owners when opening companies and financial accounts;
– Loopholes such as company directors as straw men for the real owners should be eliminated.
EU Anti-Money Laundering Regulation
– Supports the call for a comprehensive European money laundering regulation, which would make elements of the existing Directive directly binding and thus standardise the patchwork of nationally differing implementation of European money laundering rules;
– Calls for the scope of application of the European money laundering rules to be extended to cover players in disruptive markets such as crypto-assets;
– Money laundering supervision of lawyers and notaries by independent public authorities.
Regulating virtual currencies
– Demands to implement the know-your-customer principle in crypto-markets, taking into account the principle of proportionality.
Strong and interconnected registers of beneficial owners
– Recalls the Parliament’s position on the need for interconnected and high quality national registers of beneficial owners of companies and the like. The EU Commission should address the problem of lack of sufficient and accurate data in the registers.
Black list: Transparency on countries with high money laundering risks
– Call for a “grey list” of countries with potential money laundering risks in parallel with the grey list of non-cooperative jurisdictions in the tax field, in order to achieve transparency on the countries concerned even before the final “black list” is drawn up
For comparison: My 10-point plan for an effective fight against anti-money laundering of January 2020, almost all of which can be found in today’s draft resolution of the Parliament:
Link to the draft resolution (as put to the vote, all relevant elements got adopted):