The European Commission (EC) has launched a public consultation into setting up an EU-wide policy to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing across the bloc.
The "bold action plan" from the EC, announced on Thursday, sets out to ensure a "unified and comprehensive EU-wide policy" to better combat money laundering and illegal financing.
Valdis Dombrovskis, EU executive vice-president of the EC, said: "We need to put an end to dirty money infiltrating our financial system. Today we are further bolstering our defences to fight money laundering and terrorist financing, with a comprehensive and far-reaching Action Plan."
The EC said it is launching a public consultation on the matter, which will be open until 29 July 2020.
Mares & Mares, a law firm specializing in financial crime, said the action plan consists of six stages:
- The efficient implementation of the existing rules;
- A single regulatory framework at EU level;
- A centralized surveillance system at EU level;
- A support and cooperation mechanism for the Financial Intelligence Units (FIU - in Romania, ONPCSB for this role);
- Increased access to information for the application of white collar crime legislation;
- A stronger Union in the global context, fully aligned with the standards established by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
Chris Ives, a senior manager in the Forensic Investigations and Intelligence practice of Kroll, commented on the EC's plans, saying: "The Commission's new plans are a long time coming. Regulators, central banks, financial intelligence units, prosecutors, financial institutions and the private sector all have a crucial role to play in the fight against money laundering. Public-private partnerships are key to stakeholders working together to effectively tackle the problem. While we welcome the move, only time will tell as to how the Commission will encourage and ensure cooperation across countries and sectors."
Mihai Mareș, a founding partner of Mares & Mares. said: "EU authorities also considered the idea that the European Banking Authority (EBA), which oversees national anti-money laundering systems in the banking area, could have this role as a central supervisory body."
Mares added, "I share the opinion that it would be more effective if the new supervisory body was distinct from the EBA and thus benefit from a high degree of independence, as well as from a flexible management structure."
This article first appeared on International Investment, May 11, 2020.