At the joint meeting of the ECON and LIBE Committees of the European Parliament, Members of the European Parliament had a second public hearing on the new anti-money laundering legislative proposals with leading experts - the President of the Financial Action Task Force, the Heads of the French and Latvian FIUs and representatives of Refinitiv, the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe and Transparency International.
Effective information sharing between public and private institutions was presented as the absolute key to the success of AML policies, as well as the transparency of beneficial ownership registries. Experts stressed that the EU needs better asset recovery and EU-wide cooperation on asset identification and seizure. The management of emerging risks, in particular digital assets, is a major concern.
Experts' answers to MEPs' questions
MEPs asked about:
- The cash limit: this does not seem to be very useful to experts, as criminals will always find ways to circumvent it.
- The cooperation between Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) and the AML/CFT Authority (AMLA): the common approach to the functioning of the MLA is that collaboration between stakeholders will be of utmost importance. Experts also welcomed the idea of having a central authority that has control over the sanctions to be applied to the different jurisdictions.
They also asked questions about the right proportionality in the risk-based approach and the control and coordination of financial sanctions. In essence, honest risk assessment, close national and international cooperation, proper allocation of resources and systemic improvements in technology would certainly bring success to the AML package.
In the European Parliament, the AML package seems to be running smoothly and on track:
- The most advanced seems to be the transfer of funds regulation, for which the co-rapporteurs have presented their draft report, which is expected to be voted by both committees at the end of the month.
- The co-rapporteurs on the AML Regulation have also completed their draft report, which will be presented at the end of the month.
- Finally, the draft reports on the AML Directive and the AMLA Regulation are still in preparation.
In the Council of Ministers, work has been going on for months. Once agreement is reached on the position of the Member States and the European Parliament, inter-institutional negotiations will agree on a common legislative text for each of the elements of the package. It is currently expected that this will happen in the second half of the year.
By Helena Freitas and Antoine Kremer