European Parliament proposes strong measures for corporate transparency
The EU Council and Commission must match Parliament’s ambition and endorse progressive provisions to EU anti-money laundering package
The European Parliament has today agreed its position on the draft EU legislation to increase the bloc’s defences against dirty money. The joint committees on economic affairs (ECON) and home affairs and civil liberties (LIBE) – who co-lead on this legislation on the side of the European Parliament – have adopted a series of ambitious amendments to the anti-money laundering package proposed by the European Commission in July 2021. Now the EU Council, Commission and Parliament will begin negotiations to reach an agreement on the final legislation for implementation by member states. Transparency International welcomes the strong measures included in the European Parliament’s amendments, particularly revisions to the proposed 6th Anti-Money Laundering Directive, and encourages the Council to accept them.
Maíra Martini, corrupt money flows expert at Transparency International, said:
“The need to enhance the EU anti-money laundering package gained new importance after the EU’s highest court struck down public access to company beneficial ownership registers late last year. We commend the European Parliament for responding to the current challenges and proposing provisions which, if adopted, will prevent the EU from sliding back into the corporate secrecy era.
“The proposed provisions respect the Court's ruling while identifying a clear path forward to ensure meaningful access, while also addressing the previous directive's shortcomings in which legitimate interest was only assessed on a case-by-case basis. Ensuring journalists, civil society organisations and academia broader access to beneficial ownership registers is key for them to be able to help prevent and fight money laundering within their mandates.”
Roland Papp, senior policy officer of Transparency International EU, said:
“The European Parliament's position on the anti-money laundering package is ambitious and creates new opportunities in the fight against dirty money. We're now looking to the Council and the Commission to ensure key elements are in the final text. We need to see a well-resourced anti-money laundering authority and stricter rules, otherwise the EU will continue to be a safe haven for the proceeds of crime and corruption.”
The European Parliament’s proposals to the anti-money laundering package include a number of other welcome measures, including: bolstering the powers of the proposed anti-money laundering authority; lowering the threshold for mandatory disclosure of beneficial ownership information from 25 per cent to 15 and even lower – to 5 per cent – for companies operating in the extractives sector or those with a structure designated as high risk of money laundering; banning the sale of golden passports and including strict mandatory due diligence checks for golden visa schemes.
Notes to editors
- Transparency International Anti-Corruption Helpdesk developed a brief on the uses and impact of beneficial ownership information: https://knowledgehub.transparency.org/helpdesk/the-uses-and-impact-of-beneficial-ownership-information
- See more extensive analysis of the European Court of Justice’s decision to invalidate public access to beneficial ownership registers: https://www.transparency.org/en/blog/cjeu-ruling-eu-public-beneficial-ownership-registers-what-next-for-corporate-transparency
- Transparency International EU published a briefing about the details of the anti-money laundering package: https://transparency.eu/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/AML-Policy-Brief.pdf