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Anti-money laundering - reinforcing the supervisory and regulatory framework

02-09-2019

On the back of a number of high profile cases and alleged cases of money laundering, this briefing presents current initiatives and actions aiming at reinforcing the anti-money laundering supervisory and regulatory framework in the EU. This briefing first outlines (1) the EU supervisory architecture and the respective roles of European and national authorities in applying anti-money laundering legislation that have been further specified in the 5th AML Directive and (2) ways that have been proposed ...

On the back of a number of high profile cases and alleged cases of money laundering, this briefing presents current initiatives and actions aiming at reinforcing the anti-money laundering supervisory and regulatory framework in the EU. This briefing first outlines (1) the EU supervisory architecture and the respective roles of European and national authorities in applying anti-money laundering legislation that have been further specified in the 5th AML Directive and (2) ways that have been proposed to further improve the anti-money laundering supervisory and regulatory frameworks, including the 12 September 2018 Commission’s communication, the changes to the European Supervisory Authority (ESA) Regulation adopted by the co-legislators on the basis of a Commission proposal and the most recent Commission’s state of play of supervisory and regulatory landscapes on anti-money laundering. Some previous AML cases are presented in Annex. This briefing updates an EGOV briefing originally drafted in April 2018. On a more prospective note, this briefing also presents (3) some possible additional reforms to bring about a more integrated AML supervisory architecture in the EU. In that respect, President-elect U. von der Leyen’s political declaration stresses the need for further action without specifying at this stage possible additional supervisory and regulatory developments: “The complexity and sophistication of our financial system has opened the door to new risks of money laundering and terrorist financing. We need better supervision and a comprehensive policy to prevent loopholes.”

EU policies – Delivering for citizens: The fight against tax fraud

28-06-2019

Tax policy, and the fight against tax fraud, have gained particular exposure over the past five years as a result of the light shed by repeated tax leaks and the related journalistic investigations. This has added to the increasing lack of acceptance of damaging tax practices, especially since the recession and the resulting budget constraints. The fight against tax fraud aims at recovering revenue not paid to the public authorities. It also aims at ensuring that fraudsters do not have an advantage ...

Tax policy, and the fight against tax fraud, have gained particular exposure over the past five years as a result of the light shed by repeated tax leaks and the related journalistic investigations. This has added to the increasing lack of acceptance of damaging tax practices, especially since the recession and the resulting budget constraints. The fight against tax fraud aims at recovering revenue not paid to the public authorities. It also aims at ensuring that fraudsters do not have an advantage over compliant taxpayers, thus ensuring tax fairness between taxpayers. Unpaid taxes result in reduced resources for national and European Union (EU) budgets. Though the scale of unpaid taxes is by nature difficult to estimate, available assessments hint at large amounts of resources lost to public finances. Citizens' evaluation of the EU's current involvement in the fight against tax fraud has improved, but the majority of citizens in each Member State still share expectations for even more intensive involvement. Despite this, there is still a considerable gap between citizens' evaluations and expectations of EU involvement. There is still room for improvement in addressing the preferences and expectations of EU citizens. The fight against tax fraud is shared between Member States and the EU. Coming under tax policy, it has remained closely linked to Member State sovereignty, protected by the requirement for unanimity and a special legislative procedure which keeps tax matters firmly under the Council's control. This has been the case since the Union's beginnings, in spite of the proposed limited changes to the tax framework. As shortcomings have been more clearly identified, the discussion has been opened anew in speeches on the State of the Union delivered by the President of the European Commission before the European Parliament. Fighting tax fraud covers not only actions against illegal behaviour, but also the deterrence of fraud and measures to foster compliance. As a result it involves a large reboot of tax provisions, to upgrade them for the scale and features of tax fraud as it is and as it evolves. In spite of the notable deliveries during the 2014-2019 parliamentary term, there remains work ahead, namely because all provisions need to be implemented, enforced, monitored and, if need be, updated, to keep up with the versatility of tax fraud and the pace of digital evolution globally. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

Understanding money laundering through real estate transactions

04-02-2019

Money laundering through real estate transactions integrates black funds into the legal economy while providing a safe investment. It allows criminals to enjoy assets and derived funds having camouflaged the origin of the money used for payment. A number of techniques are used, namely cash or opaque financing schemes, overvalued or undervalued prices, and non-transparent companies and trusts or third parties that act as legal owners. Among the possible indicators are geographical features (such as ...

Money laundering through real estate transactions integrates black funds into the legal economy while providing a safe investment. It allows criminals to enjoy assets and derived funds having camouflaged the origin of the money used for payment. A number of techniques are used, namely cash or opaque financing schemes, overvalued or undervalued prices, and non-transparent companies and trusts or third parties that act as legal owners. Among the possible indicators are geographical features (such as the distance between the property and the buyer and their actual geographical centre of interest). In order to assess the existence of a money-laundering risk, concrete assessments of transactions and a customer's situation provide indications that help raise red flags and trigger reporting obligations. The anti-money-laundering recommendations set out by the international Financial Action Task Force (FAFT) are implemented in the European Union (EU) by means of coordinated provisions (chiefly the Anti-money-laundering Directive). Customer due diligence and reporting of suspicious transactions are tools to address money laundering. Real estate transactions involve both non-financial and financial sector parties operating under different legal requirements. Yet, reporting of suspicious transactions in real estate is limited, leaving ample room for improvement. Improvement is all the more necessary inasmuch as money laundering in general, and in the real estate sector in particular, has a major socio-economic impact, the magnitude of which is difficult to quantify. Awareness is however growing as a result not least of high profile examples of money laundering through real estate in a number of EU cities.

Latvia Cracks Down on Unscrupulous Banking

13-12-2018

This briefing, provided by Policy department A, discusses the Latvian banking system and its exposure to money laundering risks. It was prepared following the European Parliament’s Financial Crimes, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance Committee (TAX3) delegation visit to Latvia in August 2018.

This briefing, provided by Policy department A, discusses the Latvian banking system and its exposure to money laundering risks. It was prepared following the European Parliament’s Financial Crimes, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance Committee (TAX3) delegation visit to Latvia in August 2018.

Public hearing with Danièle Nouy, Chair of the Supervisory Board

16-11-2018

This note is prepared in view of a regular public hearing with the Chair of the Supervisory Board of the European Central Bank (ECB). The following issues are addressed in this briefing: (i) feedback on the EP resolution on Banking Union; (ii) Anti Money Laundering, including external paper commissioned for this hearing; (iii) Brexit; (iv) Cum Ex; (v) stress test results; (vi) supervisory banking statistics; (vii) recent SSM publications, including the 2019 supervisory programme and the thematic ...

This note is prepared in view of a regular public hearing with the Chair of the Supervisory Board of the European Central Bank (ECB). The following issues are addressed in this briefing: (i) feedback on the EP resolution on Banking Union; (ii) Anti Money Laundering, including external paper commissioned for this hearing; (iii) Brexit; (iv) Cum Ex; (v) stress test results; (vi) supervisory banking statistics; (vii) recent SSM publications, including the 2019 supervisory programme and the thematic review on profitability and business models.

The supervisory approach to anti-money laundering: an analysis of the Joint Working Group’s reflection paper

14-11-2018

On August 31 2018, a Joint Working Group consisting of representatives of the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the European Supervisory Agencies published a document entitled ‘Reflection paper on possible elements of a Roadmap for seamless cooperation between Anti Money Laundering and Prudential Supervisors in the European Union’. The reflection paper straightforwardly calls for additional resources to be made available to the European Banking Authority to counter money laundering ...

On August 31 2018, a Joint Working Group consisting of representatives of the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the European Supervisory Agencies published a document entitled ‘Reflection paper on possible elements of a Roadmap for seamless cooperation between Anti Money Laundering and Prudential Supervisors in the European Union’. The reflection paper straightforwardly calls for additional resources to be made available to the European Banking Authority to counter money laundering. Suggestions for better cooperation and information sharing among anti-money laundering and prudential supervisors, however, risk being ineffective, as long as the underlying incentives to engage in international regulatory competition towards low enforcement of anti-money laundering standards are not addressed. To eliminate the potential for regulatory competition, anti-money laundering supervision needs to be raised to a European level.

Autor externo

H.Huizinga

Money laundering and tax evasion risks in free ports

17-10-2018

Freeports are conducive to secrecy. In their preferential treatment, they resemble offshore financial centres, offering both high security and discretion and allowing transactions to be made without attracting attention of regulators and direct tax authorities. This study argues that the legal anti-money laundering and tax evasion framework in place in the EU (and elsewhere) is only partially effective in combatting money laundering and tax evasion.

Freeports are conducive to secrecy. In their preferential treatment, they resemble offshore financial centres, offering both high security and discretion and allowing transactions to be made without attracting attention of regulators and direct tax authorities. This study argues that the legal anti-money laundering and tax evasion framework in place in the EU (and elsewhere) is only partially effective in combatting money laundering and tax evasion.

An overview of shell companies in the European Union

17-10-2018

In April 2018, the European Parliament's Special Committee on Financial Crimes, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance (TAX3) requested a study on shell companies in the EU. In response to this request, the Ex-Post Evaluation Unit (EVAL) and the European Added Value Unit (EAVA) of the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) prepared this study. The study aims to contribute to a better understanding of the phenomenon of shell companies in the European Union. In particular, it approaches the issue through ...

In April 2018, the European Parliament's Special Committee on Financial Crimes, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance (TAX3) requested a study on shell companies in the EU. In response to this request, the Ex-Post Evaluation Unit (EVAL) and the European Added Value Unit (EAVA) of the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) prepared this study. The study aims to contribute to a better understanding of the phenomenon of shell companies in the European Union. In particular, it approaches the issue through a set of ‘proxy’ indicators at a member state level. It proceeds by presenting main risks associated with the shell companies. Finally, if presents policies aiming at mitigating these identified risks.

Plenary round-up – Strasbourg, September 2018

14-09-2018

The highlight of September's plenary session was the State of the Union speech by the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, announcing a number of legislative proposals to come by the end of the Commission's mandate. The debate on the Future of Europe continued, this time with the Prime Minister of Greece, Alexis Tsipras. Lebanon's President, Michel Aoun, addressed Parliament as well as the Prime Minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Zoran Zaev. Parliament approved ...

The highlight of September's plenary session was the State of the Union speech by the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, announcing a number of legislative proposals to come by the end of the Commission's mandate. The debate on the Future of Europe continued, this time with the Prime Minister of Greece, Alexis Tsipras. Lebanon's President, Michel Aoun, addressed Parliament as well as the Prime Minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Zoran Zaev. Parliament approved, inter alia, proposals on the European Solidarity Corps, Single Digital Gateway, and countering money laundering. Parliament also voted an amended report on copyright in the digital single market which is now ready to be negotiated with the Council.

Policy Departments' Monthly Highlights - September 2018

10-09-2018

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

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