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    European Council Adopts Tougher Rules on Money Laundering

    October 11, 2018

    European Council adopted a new directive on combating money laundering by criminal law. The directive introduces new criminal law provisions that will disrupt and block access by criminals to financial resources, including those used for terrorist activities. The Directive shall enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. Once the directive is published in the Official Journal, member states have up to 24 months to transpose it into national law.

    This directive complements, on the criminal law aspects, the directive on the prevention of the use of the financial system for money laundering or terrorist financing (ML/TF), which was formally adopted in May 2018. The new rules include the following:

    • Establishing minimum rules on the definition of criminal offences and sanctions relating to money laundering. Money laundering activities will be punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of four years; judges may impose additional sanctions and measures (for example: temporary or permanent exclusion from access to public funding and fines). Aggravating circumstances will apply to cases linked to criminal organizations or for offences conducted in the exercise of certain professional activities.
    • The possibility of holding legal entities liable for certain money laundering activities, which can involve a range of sanctions (for example: exclusion from public aid, placement under judicial supervision, and judicial winding-up)
    • Removing obstacles to cross-border judicial and police cooperation by setting common provisions to improve investigations. For cross-border cases, the new rules clarify which member state has jurisdiction and how those member states involved cooperate, as well as how to involve Eurojust. Eurojust is an EU agency dealing with judicial cooperation in criminal matters among agencies of the member states. 

     

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    Effective Date: OJ + 20 Days

     

    Keywords: Europe, EU, Banking, AML/CFT Directive, Criminal Law Provisions, European Council

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