European Parliament’s landmark decision on AML

Category: Blockchain Crypto Europe

Today the European Parliament took a significant stride towards fortifying the European Union’s (EU) financial integrity. The Parliament approved a comprehensive anti-money laundering (AML) package, marking a pivotal moment in the fight against illicit financial activities within the EU.

This approval demonstrates the EU’s commitment to combating money laundering and illicit financial activities. The new AML package, which is expected to be formally adopted by the Council of the EU in May, will be published in the EU’s Official Journal, signifying its official status.

The AML package is a robust framework that comprises several key components. It introduces a single rulebook regulation that covers a wide range of aspects, including customer due diligence, transparency of beneficial owners, and the regulation of crypto-assets. This rulebook aims to provide a unified approach to AML regulations across the EU, thereby enhancing the effectiveness of these regulations.

In addition to the single rulebook, the AML package incorporates the provisions of the 6th Anti-Money Laundering Directive. This directive includes national regulations on supervision and the establishment of national AML authorities. It also aims to enhance access to crucial and reliable information, such as beneficial ownership registers.

One of the most significant components of the AML package is the establishment of the European Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA). The AMLA will supervise the riskiest financial entities and work in collaboration with national AML authorities. This collaborative approach aims to reinforce the effectiveness of AML efforts across the EU.

Comprehensive AML framework

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has welcomed the approval of the AML package. The EGBA believes that the new rules will benefit Europe’s online gambling operators by ensuring a consistent regulatory approach across EU member states. This consistency will reduce administrative burdens and costs for operators.

One of the key features of the new AML framework, under the competence of AMLA, is the creation of a harmonised reporting format for Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs). This harmonised format will ensure that online gambling operators across all EU member states encounter the same STR requirements, thereby setting clear and consistent expectations.

Ekaterina Hartmann, EGBA director of legal and regulatory affairs, has expressed optimism about the new framework. She believes that the new rules will set high standards and ensure greater consistency in the application of AML rules across the EU. This consistency will benefit online gambling operators, especially those operating in multiple countries, by unravelling national complexities.

In light of the new EU rules, the EGBA will review its industry-specific AML guidelines to ensure their alignment with the new framework. These guidelines, developed in 2022, provide practical guidance on various aspects of AML, including customer and business risk assessments, customer due diligence, suspicious transaction reporting requirements, the relationship between AML and safer gambling, and record-keeping requirements.

EGBA members apply these guidelines and submit annual reports to the EGBA, summarising their progress in implementing its measures. In 2022, EGBA member operators submitted 16,825 STRs to national Financial Intelligence Units in the EU, demonstrating their commitment to upholding the integrity of the EU’s financial system.

The approval of the AML package by the European Parliament marks a new dawn in the fight against money laundering in the EU. It signifies a commitment to safeguarding the EU’s financial integrity and sets a precedent for other regions to follow.

Table of Contents