New EU measures against money laundering and terrorist financing issued in April 2023

The European Union has issued new measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing in April 2023. The new rules come in response to growing concerns about the negative impact of money laundering and terrorist financing on the economy and society as a whole.

The measures are part of the EU’s wider strategy to strengthen the fight against financial crime and follow recent anti-money laundering efforts, such as the EU’s Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD), which was implemented in 2020. The new measures are designed to build on the existing framework and address the evolving nature of financial crime.

One of the key elements of the new measures is the creation of a centralised EU-wide database with information on beneficial owners. The database will include information on individuals who ultimately own or control legal entities such as companies and trusts. This information will be accessible to law enforcement authorities, financial intelligence units and other relevant stakeholders in their efforts to identify and investigate suspicious financial activities.

In addition to the database, the new measures also include enhanced due diligence requirements for high-risk third countries, stricter rules on virtual currencies and prepaid cards, and better cooperation and exchange of information between Member States.

EU justice commissioner Didier Reynders said the new measures “will help us close the loopholes that criminals and terrorists use to launder their dirty money and finance their activities”. He also stressed the importance of international cooperation in the fight against financial crime and called on other jurisdictions to follow the EU’s lead in implementing similar measures.

The new measures were welcomed by financial institutions and industry groups as a necessary step to strengthen the EU regulatory framework and protect against financial crime. However, some expressed concern about the potential burden on businesses and the need for adequate resources and training to comply with the new requirements.

Overall, the new EU measures against money laundering and terrorist financing are an important step in the ongoing fight against financial crime. They demonstrate the EU’s commitment to protecting its citizens and the integrity of its financial system and are expected to have a positive impact in terms of deterring and detecting illegal financial activities.