The European Commission presented today some key amendments to the 4th EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD), originally issued in May 2015. These amendments, pressured by the Panama Papers scandal, aim to bring more transparency on who really owns companies and trusts.
«The European Commission has made a huge step towards making public who really owns companies and trusts – it is very nearly there. Public disclosure will allow citizens in poor countries to ensure anonymous shell companies are not used to launder away much-needed funds for development. Indeed, a trillion dollars per year is currently lost to developing countries due to shady deals including money laundering» said Tamira Gunzburg, Brussels Director at the ONE Campaign.
However, according to Tamira Gunzburg «in spite of this ground-breaking progress, the Commission has left in a dangerous loophole: only commercial trusts would have to reveal their so-called ‘beneficial owners’ to the public. All other trusts could keep them secret to all but those who can prove a ‘legitimate interest’. Not only are some of these other trusts already being used for money laundering, exempting them from disclosure risks making them even more attractive to those wishing to hide the proceeds of corruption or terrorist financing».
The Brussels Director aslo siad that ONE Campaign is counting on the EU Member States and the European Parliament to remove the last shade of grey in this key directive and make the registers for the beneficial owners of both companies and trusts fully public.
The Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive was adopted on 20 May 2015.The European Commission, in its Action Plan against terrorist financing, called on Member States to bring forward the date for effective transposition of the Directive by the end of 2016.
The amendments put forward today to address both terrorist financing and transparency issues, are targeted and proportionate to bring some urgent changes to the existing framework. The Commission encourages Member States to take into account the targeted amendments proposed today in the transposition of the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive.
The proposed update of the legal rules will be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers under the ordinary legislative procedure.
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