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Anti-money laundering with a European perspective

Combating money laundering is a top priority for both the EU and Germany. With the establishment of AMLA, an EU authority will for the first time take a leading role in AML supervision – with a European perspective.

Frankfurts am Main - Skyline
Source:  istockphoto / jotily

Anti-money laundering as a priority

The proceeds of illicit and criminal activities are referred to as “dirty” money. “Laundering” dirty money involves channelling these illicit proceeds through a system of transactions or fronts to give them a legitimate appearance. Such flows of dirty money present a risk to the economy and can be used to finance additional criminal activities.

That’s why the fight against money laundering – known as anti-money laundering, or AML – is indispensable for global security, fair competition on the markets, social cohesion, sustainable growth and the integrity of the financial system. It is a top priority not only for the European Union but also for Germany. Germany is a leader in promoting anti-money laundering at the European and international level, as evidenced by numerous measures taken in recent years as well as the current initiative to step up the fight against financial crime.

Fight against money laundering
Source:  Federal Ministry of Finance

What is AMLA?

In 2021, the European Commission presented ambitious plans to step up its engagement with anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism. In addition to unifying substantive law across the EU, the primary goal is to establish a European Authority for Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AMLA), which will take the EU’s efforts to the next level.

An EU authority will, for the first time, be able to take the lead on direct AML supervision, ensure a consistent implementation of legal provisions across Member States, work together with national authorities, and enhance cooperation among financial intelligence units. According to the European Commission’s proposal, AMLA will possess all the regulatory and supervisory powers necessary to ensure that AML supervision is successful throughout the EU. AMLA, which will be equipped with a robust headcount, is scheduled to commence operations shortly and to start direct supervision a few years later. Germany actively and successfully advocated for strong supervisory powers and an independent decision-making structure for AMLA.