Due to recent terror attacks increasing in number, the EU has made anti-money laundering one of the Commission’s top priorities through the Fourth EU Money Laundering Directive (4MLD). The EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova has stated that unfortunately more than 60% of EU members are yet to implement the 4MLD into their national legislation.
According to the Financial Times, only the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Austria, Czech Republic, Belgium, Croatia and Slovenia have implemented the directive. Following this, Brussels have issued letters to the remaining 17 EU countries, criticising their failure to meet the 26th June deadline for the 4MLD. The new directive calls for countries to establish national registers that display the ultimate “beneficial owners” of companies. The registers will be interconnected and so, this allows various authorities access to them across the EU.
The registers will collate the names, dates of birth, nationality, country of residence and the nature of the beneficial owners’ business activity. The aim of the 4MLD is to strengthen the EU’s struggle against illegal finance as the new rules make it difficult for criminal organisations to hide their money within EU countries.