20 Nov 2017
Certain groups within the European Union are deliberately delaying progress on a new anti-money laundering (AML) law in order to stall plans for public beneficial ownership registers, the EU parliamentarians charged with steering the legal process have warned.
The latest negotiations on the Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD) could not proceed after it emerged that the Council attended a trialogue, or special meeting, without a mandate to negotiate, and there was a lack of text as a basis for discussion.
Krišjānis Kariņš leading the negotiations on behalf of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee said: “The European Parliament regrets that the Council is not ready to undertake serious negotiations in order to reach an agreement.
“We are concerned that the delay in the negotiations between the Parliament and Council may be used as a reason to delay the implementation of 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive and, in effect, the setting up of beneficial ownership registers.”
The EU Parliament has negotiated “in good faith” from the very onset and expects the Council “to be constructive and willing to reach an agreement before the end of the year,” he added.
He was backed by fellow 5AMLD rapporteur Judith Sargentini, who has frequently stressed the need for transparency registers tin order to clamp down on cash being consealed.
“We have seen Lux leaks, the Panama Papers and now the Paradise Papers. The list is getting longer but members states fail to see the urgency,” Sargentini said, “we need to finalise this legislation and implement it as soon as possible as transparency around ownership will help to fight money laundering and tax evasion.
“The delay in finalising a deal on the 5th update to the AMLD is having a knock-on effect on implementation of the 4th update. This cannot continue.”
The subject of public registers of the beneficial or true owners of companies has caused huge division within members of the EU, with some advocating for information of corporate ownership to be accessible only to government and other agencies, while others believe such data should be made available to ordinary members of the public too.
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