Conference on Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing

European Commission - European Commission logoPress release

Brussels, 15 March 2013

Conference on Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing

Speech of Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs "Anti-money laundering as part of the fight against organised crime"

The Commission is working on several initiatives for the coming year. Let me just mention a couple of them.

First, corruption often paves the way for organized criminal activity, and through that the laundering of criminal profits. Corruption affects, to varying degrees, all Member States of the EU, and the efforts made to address it varies as well from country to country. The Commission will therefore publish, for the first time, a report – the EU Anti-Corruption Report – later this year looking at how Member States tackle corruption, and where there may be room for improvement.

Secondly, the Commission is planning to propose a Directive to ensure that deterrent sanctions apply when money laundering happens in practice, despite more effective preventive measures laid down in the 4th Anti-money Laundering Directive.

The Directive would lay down minimum rules for all Member States concerning what types of acts should be considered criminal money-laundering and what level of criminal sanctions should apply.

A final decision on whether to propose such a directive has not yet been taken, but it is clear that the legislation of Member States differ significantly both when it comes to the definition of money laundering and to the level of criminal sanctions.

The fact that what is punishable as money laundering in one Member State is not seen in the same way in another Member State may complicate cooperation between police and prosecutors across borders and in some cases it may be exploited by criminals. We have launched a study to find out more about the magnitude of these problems, and possible solutions.

I hope that many of you here will help the Commission, by sharing your views on those issues, in the coming months.

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