The European Commission is said to be proposing establishment of the Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA), plus closer supervision of cryto-assets, in response to calls for tougher action against dirty money.

The EU has come under pressure to step up enforcement of AML rules after several countries began investigating Danske Bank over €200bn ($237 bn) of suspicious transactions which passed through its Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015.

As there is no central AML authority in the EU, the 27-member bloc has to rely on national regulators to enforce its rules. Sector observers say they have not always cooperated fully.

“Money laundering, terrorist financing and organised crime remain significant problems which should be addressed at union level,” Reuters news agency quoted the EC as stating in documents proposing the AMLA.

The Commission foresees it becoming centrepiece of an integrated supervisory system made up of national authorities.

“By directly supervising and taking decisions towards some of the riskiest cross-border financial sector obliged entities, the authority will contribute directly to preventing incidents of money laundering/terrorist financing in the union,” the EC argues.

“At the same time, it will coordinate national supervisory authorities and assist them to increase their effectiveness in enforcing the single rulebook and ensuring homogenous and high quality supervisory standards, approaches and risk assessment methodologies.”

A linked proposal would introduce new EU requirements for crypto-assets’ service providers to collect and make accessible data concerning the originators and beneficiaries of transfers in those assets, something outside current EU financial services regulations.

“The lack of such rules leaves holders of crypto-assets exposed to money laundering and financing of terrorism risks, as flows of illicit money can be done through transfers of crypto-assets,” the documents said.


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