17 Apr 2019
EU lawmakers on Tuesday adopted measures to task the European Banking Authority (EBA) with fighting money laundering, empower prudential regulators to better address financial crime risks and protect whistleblowers.
Under a legislative resolution to strengthen the bloc’s supervisory authorities, the EBA would take a “leading, coordinating and monitoring role at Union level” to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing. The authority would draft regulatory, supervisory and technical standards on anti-money laundering (AML) efforts by EU member-states.
The resolution, which has yet to be approved by European ministers, would also grant the EBA the authority to collect data on material breaches of AML laws, perform related bloc-wide risk assessments, recommend enforcement steps to national governments and conduct peer reviews on the efficacy of AML oversight by financial supervisors in member-states.
As part of a broader banking reform package approved Tuesday, lawmakers approved enhancing the role of EU prudential regulators in preventing money laundering, including through fit and proper tests and other evaluations. Under the new rules, AML and prudential authorities in the EU will be expected to more regularly cooperate on investigations and exchange compliance data.
The steps were prompted in part by a string of highly publicized money laundering scandals in the bloc, members of the European Parliament said Tuesday.
Lawmakers separately endorsed new protections for whistleblowers, including in certain instances when an individual makes information public because of an imminent risk or need. EU ministers are expected to weigh in on the proposed whistleblower provisions later this year.
“Recent scandals such as LuxLeaks, Panama Papers and Football Leaks have helped to shine a light on the great precariousness that whistleblowers suffer today,” said Rapporteur Virginie Roziere, in a statement.
“On the eve of European elections, Parliament has come together to send a strong signal that it has heard the concerns of its citizens, and pushed for robust rules guaranteeing their safety and that of those persons who choose to speak out,” she said.
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