• Frances Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald says that Ireland should champion new EU anti-money laundering framework

Press Statement from Frances Fitzgerald MEP

Tuesday 20th July 2021

Fitzgerald says that Ireland should champion new EU anti-money laundering framework

Frances Fitzgerald, MEP for Dublin and member of the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, today (Tuesday) welcomed the EU’s new legislative package to tackle money laundering.

Commenting on the new rules, Ms. Fitzgerald said: “Today’s legislative package is a massive step forward for the EU and its single market. For too long, the EU has been seen as a prime region for criminals to take advantage of through intricate money laundering schemes. Criminals have been able to exploit the freedoms of the EU’s single market as well as the fragmented legislative landscape which has ultimately allowed for many cross-border loopholes.

“Ireland must be front and centre in this renewed fight against money laundering in Europe. We must strive for a gold standard anti-money laundering regime.

“The centrepiece of today's legislative package is the proposal for a new EU agency for anti-money laundering with direct supervisory powers which would crack down on patchy enforcement. This is a welcome proposal - we need a standalone authority with teeth that has the power and scope to root out shoddy regulatory practices and lax supervision.

“Money laundering is one of the biggest scourges in our society. When 'dirty money' is successfully cleaned by criminals this leads to more drugs, crime and violence on our streets. It provides the fuel that drug dealers and criminals need to sustain and expand their operations. Ultimately, it is communities and normal citizens that suffer.

“And now with COVID-19, there has been a surge of money laundering activity through cybercrime and fraud. It has never been more imperative for the EU and Ireland to take a tougher stance on criminal assets.

“The level of money laundering in Ireland has more than doubled in the space of a year: 524 money-laundering crimes were recorded last year, up from 234 in 2019. There were just 83 such offences in 2018, and fewer than 50 a year were recorded between 2012 and 2017.

“Criminals only need one loophole to exploit the system. Closing off those loopholes is not easy given that we live in a complex and interconnected single market. But Europe’s reputation is suffering through more and more money laundering scandals. The EU needs countries like Ireland to champion the cause.”

ENDS

Notes to the Editor:

· For further information about the new EU Anti-Money Laundering Legislative Package, click here: https://ec.europa.eu/info/publications/210720-anti-money-laundering-countering-financing-terrorism_en

· The major changes proposed by the Commission are as follows :

Ø A new EU body to supervise the enforcement of EU anti-money laundering rules.

Ø A new single rulebook of rules which aims to ensure no divergences between Member States

Ø EU-wide limit of €10,000 on large cash payments

Ø Full application of the EU Anti-money laundering rules to the cryptocurrency sector

Contact:

Marcus Glynn: +32483376559

marcus.glynn@europarl.europa.eu


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