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Source: European Parliament 2

B9‑0207/2020

European Parliament resolution on a comprehensive Union policy on preventing money laundering and terrorist financing – the Commission’s Action Plan and other recent developments

(2020/2686(RSP))

The European Parliament,

 having regard to the Commission communication of 7 May 2020 on an Action Plan for a comprehensive Union policy on preventing money laundering and terrorist financing (C(2020)2800),

 having regard to the Commission’s Anti-Money Laundering Package as adopted on 24 July 2019, consisting of a political communication entitled ‘Towards better implementation of the EU’s anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism framework’ (COM(2019)0360), the report on the assessment of recent alleged money laundering cases involving EU credit institutions (‘post-mortem’) (COM(2019)0373), the report on the assessment of the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing affecting the internal market and relating to cross-border activities (the Supranational Risk Assessment Report (SNRA)) (COM(2019)0370) and the accompanying staff working document (SWD(2019)0650), and the report on the interconnection of national centralised automated mechanisms (central registries or central electronic data retrieval systems) of the Member States on bank accounts (COM(2019)0372),

 having regard to Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2015 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing, amending Regulation (EU) No 648/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council, and repealing Directive 2005/60/EC[1] of the European Parliament and of the Council and Commission Directive 2006/70/EC (4AMLD)[2], and as amended by Directive (EU) 2018/843 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive (EU) 2015/849 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing, and amending Directives 2009/138/EC and 2013/36/EU (5AMLD)[3],

 having regard to Regulation (EU) 2019/2175 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2019 amending Regulation (EU) No 1093/2010 establishing a European Supervisory Authority (European Banking Authority), Regulation (EU) No 1094/2010 establishing a European Supervisory Authority (European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority), Regulation (EU) No 1095/2010 establishing a European Supervisory Authority (European Securities and Markets Authority), Regulation (EU) No 600/2014 on markets in financial instruments, Regulation (EU) 2016/1011 on indices used as benchmarks in financial instruments and financial contracts or to measure the performance of investment funds, and Regulation (EU) 2015/847 on information accompanying transfers of funds[4],

 having regard to Directive (EU) 2019/1153 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 laying down rules facilitating the use of financial and other information for the prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution of certain criminal offences, and repealing Council Decision 2000/642/JHA[5], to Directive (EU) 2018/1673 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2018 on combating money laundering by criminal law[6] and to Regulation (EU) 2018/1672 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2018 on controls on cash entering or leaving the Union and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1889/2005[7],

 having regard to Directive 2014/42/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 April 2014 on the freezing and confiscation of instrumentalities and proceeds of crime in the European Union[8], and to the Commission’s report on its implementation of 2 June 2020, entitled ‘Asset recovery and confiscation: Ensuring that crime does not pay’ (COM(2020)0217),

 having regard to Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation)[9],

 having regard to Directive (EU) 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2019 on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law[10],

 having regard to the Council conclusions of 5 December 2019 on strategic priorities on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism,

 having regard to the Council conclusions of 17 June 2020 on enhancing financial investigations to fight serious and organised crime,

 having regard to the opinion of the European Banking Authority of 24 July 2019 on communications to supervised entities regarding money laundering and terrorist financing risks in prudential supervision,

 having regard to its resolution of 19 April 2018 entitled ‘Protection of investigative journalists in Europe: the case of Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak and Martina Kušnírová’[11],

 having regard to its resolution of 15 November 2017 on the rule of law in Malta[12],

 having regard to its resolution of 28 March 2019 on the situation of the rule of law and the fight against corruption in the EU, specifically in Malta and Slovakia[13],

 having regard to its resolution of 18 December 2019 on the rule of law in Malta following the recent revelations surrounding the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia[14],

 having regard to the Commission roadmap entitled ‘Towards a new methodology for the EU assessment of High Risk Third Countries under Directive (EU) 2015/849 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing’,

 having regard to the Commission staff working document of 22 June 2018 entitled ‘Methodology for identifying high risk third countries under Directive (EU) 2015/849’ (SWD(2018)0362),

 having regard to the four Delegated Regulations adopted by the Commission – (EU) 2016/1675[29] to facilitate the cross-border recovery of criminal assets and the proper transposition and implementation of Directive 2014/42/EU on the freezing and confiscation of instrumentalities and proceeds of crime in the European Union; calls on the Commission to update the existing data on seized and confiscated assets; calls on the Commission to include in the forthcoming legislative proposals provisions to facilitate administrative freezing for FIUs and a legal framework to oblige financial institutions to follow up and execute recall requests in a seamless manner, as well as provisions to allow swift cross-border cooperation between authorities in this regard; is concerned that overall results in terms of assets confiscated are not satisfactory and that confiscation rates in the EU remain very low; calls on the Commission to pay particular attention to rules on the use of confiscated assets for public interest or social purposes and to work towards ensuring the return of confiscated assets to victims in countries outside the EU;

32. Welcomes the possibility outlined by the Commission of entrusting the EU AML/CTF supervisor with some competences to monitor and support the implementation of asset freezes under EU restrictive measures (sanctions) across Member States;

33. Welcomes the adoption of Directive (EU) 2018/1673 of 23 October 2018 on combating money laundering by criminal law, which introduces new criminal law provisions and facilitates more efficient and faster cross-border cooperation between competent authorities in order to more effectively prevent money laundering and the related financing of terrorism and organised crime; calls for further analysis of the need to harmonise existing rules, including the definition of some predicate offences of money laundering, such as tax crimes;

34. Welcomes the adoption of Directive 2019/1153 of 20 June 2019 laying down rules facilitating the use of financial and other information for the prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution of certain criminal offences, and awaits the Commission’s assessment of the need for, and proportionality of, extending the definition of financial information to any type of information or data held by public authorities or obliged entities and which is available to FIUs, as well as of the opportunities and challenges regarding an extension of the exchange of financial information or financial analysis between FIUs within the Union to cover exchanges relating to serious criminal offences other than terrorism or organised crime associated with terrorism;

35. Is concerned by the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic may affect the ability of governments and private sector actors to implement AML/CTF standards; calls on the Commission, in coordination with the EBA, to conduct consultations with national authorities responsible for AML/CTF in order to assess specific AML/CTF risks and difficulties derived from the COVID-19 outbreak and design, on that basis, concrete guidelines for better resilience and enforcement;

36. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that the EU speaks with one voice at the global level of the AML/CTF framework, in particular by enabling the Commission to represent the EU at the FATF, in line with the Treaty provisions and as is the case for other policy areas;

37. Calls for clearer guidelines from EU-level bodies such as the European Data Protection Board on the protection of personal data and privacy and compliance with the AML/CTF framework, namely regarding due diligence obligations and data retention, given that national data protection bodies have issued divergent approaches in the past in different Member States;

38. Calls for more human and financial resources to be allocated to the relevant unit in the Commission’s Directorate-General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, and welcomes the fact that additional resources have been devoted to the EBA;

39. Calls on the Member States to investigate fully and in a transparent manner all reported cases of money laundering and related crime, such as murders and violence against whistleblowers and journalists; reiterates its position on the creation of a Daphne Caruana Galizia prize to be awarded by Parliament; calls on the Maltese authorities to deploy all available resources to identify the instigators of the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, and to further investigate those against whom serious allegations of money laundering are still pending since her reports were confirmed by the Panama Papers revelations; calls on the Maltese authorities, furthermore, to carry out investigations into financial intermediaries linked to Mossack Fonseca that are still operating in Malta, and is concerned by the ineffective self-regulation of the accountancy profession; calls for the extradition of the former owner and chairman of Pilatus Bank to Malta now that charges against him have been dropped by the US Department of Justice as a result of procedural issues, and urges the Maltese authorities to prosecute the banker over allegations of money laundering and other financial crimes;

40. Is deeply concerned by the lack of effective supervision, as revealed during the evaluation of the performance of the Danish and Estonia supervisors in the context of the Danske Bank scandal; is concerned, furthermore, about the recent Wirecard scandal, as well as the role played by and the potential shortcomings of Germany’s financial supervisory authority BaFin; calls for the EU and the national competent authorities to start an inquiry into the missing EUR 1.9 billion and calls on the Commission to look into ways of improving the functioning of the accounting sector, including through joint audits;

41. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

 

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