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Strengere regels voor het witwassen van geld om belastingontduiking en de financiering van terrorisme te bestrijden

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geld gevalNieuwe regels ter bestrijding van het witwassen van geld zullen helpen bij het bestrijden van belastingcriminaliteit en terrorismefinanciering door het gemakkelijker te maken om geldovermakingen en bronnen van rijkdom te traceren ©BELGA/AGEFOTOSTOCK

The ultimate owners of companies will have to be listed in central registers in EU countries, open both to the authorities and to people with a “legitimate interest”, such as investigative journalists, under new rules already agreed with the Council and endorsed by Parliament on Wednesday (20 May). The new anti-money laundering directive aims to step up the fight against tax crimes and terrorist financing. New rules to make it easier to trace transfers of funds were also approved.

The fourth anti-money laundering directive (AMLD) will for the first time oblige EU member states to keep central registers of information on the ultimate “beneficial” owners of corporate and other legal entities, as well as trusts. These central registers were not envisaged in the European Commission’s initial proposal, but were included by MEPs in negotiations. The text also sets out specific reporting obligations for banks, auditors, lawyers, real estate agents and casinos, among others, on suspicious transactions made by their clients.'
Legitimate interest’ access to ownership registers
The central registers will be accessible to the authorities and their financial intelligence units (without any restriction), to ‘obliged entities’ (such as banks doing their “customer due diligence” duties), and also to the public (although public access may be subject to online registration of the person requesting it and to a fee to cover administrative costs).To access a register, a person or organisation (e.g. investigative journalists or NGOs) will in any event have to demonstrate a legitimate interest in suspected money laundering, terrorist financing and in predicate offences that may help to finance them, such as corruption, tax crimes and fraud. These persons could access information such as the beneficial owner’s name, month and year of birth, nationality, country of residence and details of ownership. Any exemption to the access provided by member states will be possible only “on a case-by-case basis, in exceptional circumstances”.

Centrale registerinformatie over trusts zal alleen toegankelijk zijn voor de autoriteiten en meldingsplichtige entiteiten.

Special measures for ‘politically exposed’ persons

The text clarifies the rules on “politically-exposed” persons”, i.e. people at a higher than usual risk of corruption due to the political positions they hold, such as heads of state, members of government, supreme court judges, and members of parliament, as well as their family members.

Als er sprake is van risicovolle zakelijke relaties met dergelijke personen, moeten aanvullende maatregelen worden genomen, bijvoorbeeld om de bron van de rijkdom en de bron van de betrokken fondsen vast te stellen, aldus de richtlijn.

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Het traceren van geldoverboekingen

De leden van het Europees Parlement keurden ook een verordening over ‘geldoverdrachten’ goed, die tot doel heeft de traceerbaarheid van betalers en begunstigden en hun activa te verbeteren.

Volgende stappen

De lidstaten hebben twee jaar de tijd om de antiwitwasrichtlijn in hun nationale wetgeving om te zetten. De verordening inzake geldovermakingen zal twintig dagen na de publicatie ervan in het Publicatieblad van de EU rechtstreeks van toepassing zijn in alle lidstaten.

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