A preliminary deal to fight money laundering has been approved by European Union governments, the EU announced on December 19. It still needs the approval of the EU parliament to become law.
The reform was presented by the European Commission in September. Under the agreed text, the European Banking Authority (EBA) would be able to directly force individual banks to take measures against money laundering “as a last resort” if national authorities do not act.
As reported by the Reuters news agency, the overhaul does not address loopholes that give states broad discretion in imposing sanctions and does not create a dedicated agency to counter money laundering at the EU or euro zone level, as proposed by the European Central Bank.
Under the reform, the EBA, which is moving from London to Paris after Brexit, will have new powers to force national supervisors to investigate cases of suspected breaches of anti-money laundering rules.
In a separate report, Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, noted that – as a last resort if national agencies failed to act – the European Banking Authority would be able to directly force individual banks to take measures against money laundering.