Negotiating teams of the European Parliament and the Council of the EU have reached a political agreement on establishing an Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA). The agreement does not include the seat of the future agency, on which discussions will continue.
As part of a larger package on combating money-laundering and terrorist financing, AMLA would supervise the EU’s new rulebook on combatting dirty money flows. It would be charged with directly supervising the most risky financial entities – those with operations in at least 6 member states – and in any event, supervising one per member state. It will also have strong powers to step in in case of supervisory failures and take over supervisory tasks.
Additionally, AMLA would also act as a central hub helping coordinate the actions of supervisors in different EU countries and ensuring convergence of supervisory practices. Based on a proposal from the Parliament, AMLA will also be tasked with mediating and settling disputes between national authorities.
Furthermore, AMLA would support financial intelligence units in analysing suspicious transactions and detecting money laundering cases, notably by supporting joint analysis and managing FIU.Net, the IT system used for Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) information sharing.
Harmonised rules and application
Given the connections between AMLA, the enforcer, and the rules it will enforce, the co-legislators also reached a provisional agreement on elements of the wider money-laundering package.
Negotiators agreed on several horizontal points that would harmonise anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing rules and help member states to apply them in a more uniform/consistent way. New provisions include creation of reporting channels for receiving and handling information on breaches and protection of whistle-blowers, as well as effective cooperation between national FIUs and AMLA. Finally, the Parliament inserted new rules against circumvention of targeted financial sanctions and AMLA’s supervisory role in ensuring implementation by obliged entities of targeted financial sanctions.
The agency’s seat to be selected in 2024
For the first time, the host city for the new agency will be agreed between the Parliament and Council in the ordinary legislative procedure, following a Court of Justice of the European Union ruling to that effect. The co-legislators intend to host hearings with the candidates that have expressed their interest. Negotiations to agree on the seat selection procedure will continue.
Co-rapporteur Eva Maria Poptcheva (Renew, Spain) said: “We have a deal on the substantive provisions of the new Anti-money Laundering Authority. AMLA will be a game changer to crack down on dirty money in the EU. It will supervise the 40 riskiest financial entities and it will oversee the non-financial sector to prevent cases like the Pandora Papers. AMLA will also play a crucial role avoiding the circumvention of targeted financial sanctions like the ones included in the 11 sanctions packages approved by the EU against Russia. Next step is to find the best possible location to host AMLA.”
Co-rapporteur Emil Radev (EPP, Bulgaria) said: “The EP gave AMLA an important and strong role in the fight against money laundering. We hope that it will guarantee more financial security and better cooperation with national supervisors and FIUs in a cross-border environment, where risks have been growing at a constant pace. For the first time, AMLA will supervise directly the riskiest companies in the financial sector, as well as cryptocurrency providers that operate in several Member States.”