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EU to create anti-money laundering authority to crack down on financial crime

Christian Fernsby |
The European Commission on Tuesday proposed the creation of an anti-money laundering authority to clamp down on financial crime across the European Union (EU).

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The proposal is one of a raft of legislative proposals aimed at strengthening the EU's rules on combating money laundering and terrorist financing.

The European Commission said in a statement that the aim of this package is to improve the detection of suspicious transactions and activities, and to address loopholes used by criminals to launder illicit proceeds or finance terrorist activities through the financial system.

Valdis Dombrovskis, the Commission's executive vice president for an economy that works for people, said that every money laundering scandal that has hit Europe in recent times was "a wake-up call that our work to close the gaps in our financial system is not yet done."

"We have made huge strides in recent years and our EU anti-money laundering (AML) rules are now among the toughest in the world. But they now need to be applied consistently and closely supervised to make sure they really bite," he said.

He described the new rules as "bold steps to close the door on money laundering and stop criminals from lining their pockets with ill-gotten gains."

Mairead McGuinness, commissioner responsible for financial services, financial stability and the Capital Markets Union, said: "Today's package significantly ramps up our efforts to stop dirty money from being washed through the financial system."

"We are increasing coordination and cooperation between authorities in member states and creating a new EU AML authority. These measures will help us protect the integrity of the financial system and the single market," she said.

The package consists of four legislative proposals, which apart from the creation of the new authority, includes rules on areas such as customer due diligence, a fresh anti-money laundering directive as well as an EU-wide limit of 10,000 euros (11,800 U.S. dollars) on large cash payments.

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