The 5th AML Directive in 2020: key changes (Part 2)

In 1990 the European Union (“EU”) adopted its ever first Anti Money Laundering (“AML”) Directive in order to combat the abuse of the Financial Systems for the purpose of money laundering. Over the past decades there have been another 3 directives which were called to battle the Money Laundering in the territory of the EU and the directives defined new rules of compliance and due diligence in the financial sector within the EU. These set of norms consequently led to the development of guidelines outside of the EU as well, for instance on the level of OECD member states.

On 19th of April 2018 the European Parliament adopted the 5th Anti‑Money Laundering (“5AML”) Directive and by the 20th of January, 2020 all EU member states have to transpose the modified regulations of this Directive into their national laws. The previous article outlined several new provisions and clarifications. Here are other 4 points that deserve our attention.

This directive namely ends the anonymity of bank and savings accounts, safe deposit boxes (art. 32(a)(1)) and obliges the member states to have certain mechanisms in place to identify the owners of bank accounts and safe deposit boxes and such information shall be accessible throughout the EU.

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Further to the point above, the Member States shall ensure that the mentioned information is directly accessible to all national FIUs (art. 32(a)(2)), this essentially means that now the reporting obligations towards FIUs will play a key role.

Great mobility of people within the EU and consequent purchase of real estate assets in various states has created a necessity to have a centralized public registry where all national registries will have to provide the FIUs such information (art. 32(b)(1)). Such harmonization seems crucial, yet not all Member States have right instruments in place to maintain such registry up to date.

Finally, the users of prepaid cards and e-money shall be now identified if the transaction value exceeds EUR 150 (art. 1(7)) this measure was taken to battle money laundering operations and terrorism financing.

It shall be noted that the changes that the 5th AML directive brought follow the same logic of the DAC 6 (Council Directive (EU) 2018/822 of 25 May 2018) and in terms of the OECD guidelines and therefore some of these measures have been anticipated before. However, the question remains whether to which extent the Member States will be complying with these provisions?

Gayk Ayvazyan for ApricotLawyer. com

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