Combating money laundering: EU law in an international context

Briefing 24-10-2012

Money laundering is a global phe­no­menon, the scope of which cannot be reliably estimated. It takes a plethora of forms, cha­racterised by varying degrees of sophistica­tion. Having started with offences related to the proceeds of trading in illegal drugs, regulators have gradually criminalised money laundering with respect to a now extensive catalogue of crimes. Their collaborative efforts within such fora as the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the Financial Action Task Force (an informal organisation set up by the G7 countries) have led to the drafting of widely acknowledged anti-money laundering (AML) standards. These principles have been complemented with various sets of self-imposed rules established by financial institutions. The EU has taken part in elaborating interna­tional AML norms and standards. They have been incorporated into EU law by the three successive AML directives. The revision of the third, Directive 2005/60/EC, is currently under way.