The European Commission has sent formal letters of warning to Germany, Portugal and Romania urging them to bring their anti-money laundering (AML) laws into line with European Union directives “correctly”.

The commission said in a statement that the three member states have incorrectly transposed the Fourth AML Directive (4AMLD) into their own law.

The statement said: “The Commission decided today that the concerned Member States need to address fundamental aspects of the anti-money laundering framework, such as the proper exchange of information with Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs), requirements of customer due diligence and adequate cooperation between FIUs, or the transparency of the central beneficial ownership registers.”

The three countries now have two months to respond to the letter. If the Commission is still not satisfied it can issue a “reasoned opinion” and can then refer the matter to the European Court of Justice, although matters are usually resolved before it gets to this stage.

The transposition deadline for 4AMLD was 27 June 2017. The directive imposed customer due diligence on previous unregulated firms, introduced beneficial ownership requirements, expanded a risk-based approach, made tax crimes predicate offenses and widened the definition of ‘politically exposed persons’.

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