Today, 9 July 2018, the 5th EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive enters into force. Member States now have until 10 January 2020 to render their national company registers public. All citizens will then be able to see which beneficiaries are behind which companies. By 10 March 2021, national business registers are to be interconnected so that financial crime can also be combated effectively across borders. In addition, national bank account registers have to be set up and information on property owners must be available in a timely manner throughout Europe so that police and national authorities can quickly identify money launderers. The new European anti-money laundering rules were negotiated between the EU Parliament, the Council of Member States and the EU Commission in December 2017 under the leadership of Green co-rapporteur Judith Sargentini (Netherlands) and include many Green suggestions.
Sven Giegold, economic and financial spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group and shadow rapporteur for the 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive for the Economic and Monetary Committee (ECON), comments:
“We are making a great leap forward in the fight against money laundering in the EU. Public company registers will make it easier to uncover the people behind complex networks of letter obx companies. Trusts, foundations and fiduciary companies can no longer operate in the dark, but must disclose their beneficial owners to authorities and persons with a legitimate interest, such as journalists. For shady investors it will become more difficult to conceal who is behind real estate purchases in cities, because the responsible authorities must now be able to identify the owners of real estate promptly. The assets of criminals can now also be tracked down in real estate ownership across Europe.
Germany has already established a non-public company register, which now has to become fully public. However, the German company register contains deviations from European law for multilayer corporate networks and often the required information is missing. The German government must make urgent improvements here, otherwise the EU Commission must start infringement proceedings. The German implementation is still under review and we will follow the Commission’s next steps closely.
The remaining shortcomings of money laundering supervision in the banking union must be tackled quickly. On a Green initiative, the European Parliament has put forward initial proposals for improvement, which the Council of the Member States must not block. The ECB should build up its own expertise in the area of money laundering and must systematically take money laundering risks into account in banking supervision. In addition, the new working group of European supervisors EBA, ESMA and EIOPA should be courageous and develop further ideas. In any case, the Commission cannot hesitate any longer to bring forward a legislative proposal for a European anti-money laundering authority, the European Parliament, several banking supervisors and national anti-money laundering authorities have already called for.”
5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive as published in the Official Journal of the EU:
Overview of the amendments to the 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive including Green amendments won and lost: