04/06/2024
Insights Blog

The upcoming EU AML / CFT package was adopted by the Council of the EU on 30 May 2024 – the last step in the legislative process before it is published in the Official Journal shortly.  Our previous insights following political agreement in January 2024 are here.

The EU’s AML / CFT framework will move from a directive-led framework (which has led to diverging approaches between EU Member States) to a regulation-led framework (which will be directly effective in each EU Member State – the aim is to “exhaustively harmonise anti-money laundering rules for the first time throughout the EU…”)

The AML / CFT package has three key parts:

  • The ‘single rulebook’ AML / CFT Regulation (the text approved by the European Parliament and submitted to the Council of the EU for approval is here).
  • The Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA) Regulation (the text approved by the European Parliament and submitted to the Council of the EU for approval is here).
  • The related AML / CFT Directive (the text approved by the European Parliament and submitted to the Council of the EU for approval is here).

The ‘single rulebook’ AML / CFT Regulation will contain the bulk of the new framework.

The AML / CFT Regulation Directive then deals with matters where some local law regulations will be needed, notably the management of the beneficial ownership framework, the management of the framework relating to bank account registers, the requirement for a single access point to information on real estate, the responsibilities of Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs), the potential to bring additional sectors into the scope of the ‘single rulebook’, carrying out national risk assessments, and the role of competent authorities.

On timing for application of the new rules:

  • The ‘single rulebook’ AML / CFT Regulation will apply 36 months + 20 days after publication in the Official Journal (save in respect of football agents and football clubs, in respect of which it will apply 60 months + 20 days after publication).
  • The AMLA Regulation will apply from 1 July 2025, save for the mandates to develop related technical standards, guidelines and recommendations, and the provisions relating to the establishment of AMLA’s organisational structure, which will apply straight away. AMLA will be located in Frankfurt, Germany, and is expected to become operational in mid-2025.
  • Most provisions of the AML / CFT Directive will require transposition by EU Member States 36 months + 20 days after publication in the Official Journal (at which stage the Fourth Money Laundering Directive as amended by the Fifth Money Laundering Directive will be repealed).

Under the new AML / CFT framework, EU Member States must make information from centralised bank account registers available through a single access point (for more information on the Irish database of bank accounts, established by the Central Bank, read our insights here).  As the AML /CFT Directive will give access to that single access point to FIUs, a separate Directive regarding access to centralised bank account registries was adopted at the same time by the Council of the EU last week to ensure that law enforcement authorities in EU Member States will have access to these registers via the single access point.  Again, local law transposing measures will be needed to transpose that Directive.

Over the next few weeks, we will be issuing themed updates on key elements of the upcoming AML / CFT framework, including beneficial ownership.  In the meantime, to discuss any of the above in more detail, please get in touch with your usual contact in our award-winning Financial Regulation Group.