As published on euronews.com, Tuesday 20 July, 2021.
Brussels wants to create a new agency to crack down on money laundering.
The European Commission has laid out the proposals after a series of scandals, including Danske Bank’s €200bn scandal in 2017.
The creation of the Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA) is aimed at strengthening rules around money laundering as well as countering terrorist financing.
"Behind the story of dirty money are terrible crimes which are awful for citizens, within society, families and communities," Mairead McGuinness the EU commissioner for financial stability, financial services and the Capital Markets Union said on Tuesday.
"And, therefore, tackling money laundering is tackling crime at its very heart. In essence, we have looked at where the gaps are in our regulatory framework and we have said: enough is enough."
The new agency will be designed to supervise cross-border financial activities and have the power to impose fines. It would also have oversight of cryptocurrencies and a new limit on cash payments at €10,000 would be imposed to limit the reach of criminal gangs.
The European Savings and Retail Banking Group (ESBG) has welcomed the measures announced today, saying that it hopes they will strengthen the fight against financial crime.
"The consistent and integrated EU-wide supervision and the risk-based approach of the new regulations are steps in the right direction”, said Joseph Delhaye, chair of ESBG’s legal and retail committee.
“ESBG members are fully committed to continue fighting money laundering and believe that a clear and practical regulation will be key to make these efforts most effective."
According to Europol, suspicious transactions are involved in around 1% of the EU’s economic activity.
The aim is to have the AMLA up and running by 2024, but, first, it will need to get approval from the European Parliament and national governments.
A decision on where the new body will be situated is yet to be made.