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The Italian Presidency of the Council reached an agreement with the European Parliament on the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive and the Funds Transfer Regulation, which introduce into the Union the most recent recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF/GAFI), the global standard-setter in the field of anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing (AML/CTF).
The proposal for a Fourth Directive implementing FATF Recommendations was issued by the Commission in February 2013 and has formed the object of intense negotiation within the Council and within the European Parliament for almost two years.
The text approved represents a key achievement in the European anti-money laundering framework: not only does it implement the FATF Recommendations, thus bringing EU countries up to the most advanced international standards, but also goes well beyond these standards, establishing an ambitious set of provisions which are expected to allow Europe to make a considerable step forward in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. In particular, in order to enhance transparency on company and trust ownership and provide authorities with effective tools to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, the text approved today establishes in all European countries a centralized register of beneficial ownership information. The register will be accessible to competent authorities, FIUs, obliged entities and persons able to demonstrate a legitimate interest in the field.
The Directive recognizes the importance of adopting a supranational approach to AML/CTF risks affecting the Union, entrusting the European Commission with the role of conducting a supranational risk assessment of these risks and making recommendations to the Member States in order to address them effectively. It also sets out a European approach to identify third countries which have strategic deficiencies in their AML framework. Provisions are also introduced in order to supervise more effectively the payment institutions operating cross border through agents. In addition, a whole set of new rules are set out on the functions of and the co-operation between al Intelligence Units, which play a crucial role in the AML framework and are now provided with enhanced powers for exchanging information and collaborating to find out money launderers operating cross border; in recognition of the seriousness and the cross-border nature of money laundering stemming from tax crimes, the Directive pushes to the largest extent possible the co-operation between FIUs in such cases. The Regulation will significantly enhance the traceability of funds transfers in the Union. Innovations are introduced on sanctions aiming at reinforcing compliance.
The Chair of the Committee of Permanent Representatives, Ambassador Stefano Sannino, said: “This agreement will allow the EU to be in the lead in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. The agreement goes far beyond the G20 principles agreed last November in Brisbane. The Italian Presidency worked hard in favor of transparency throughout negotiations. ".