5AMLD: Council of the European Union accepts new rules
Members of Parliament voted on the Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD) on 19 April 2018 following an agreement with the European Parliament in December 2017. The updated directive entered into force three days after its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. Member states have 18 months to transpose the new rules into national law. On 14 May 2018, the Council adopted a directive at a meeting of General Affairs Council, without discussion strengthening EU rules to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.
The directive sets out to close down criminal finance without hindering the normal functioning of payment systems. Amending directive 2015/849, it is part of an action plan launched after a spate of terrorist attacks in Europe in 2016.
According to Vladislav Goranov, minister for finance of Bulgaria, which currently holds the Council presidency, “These new rules respond to the need for increased security in Europe by further removing the means available to terrorists”. He also said that “They will enable us to disrupt criminal networks without compromising fundamental rights and economic freedoms.”
The main changes to directive 2015/849 involve:
- broadening access to information on beneficial ownership, improving transparency in the ownership of companies and trusts;
- addressing risks linked to prepaid cards and virtual currencies;
- cooperation between financial intelligence units;
- improved checks on transactions involving high-risk third countries.
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