On May 14, 2018, the European Council adopted a directive to strengthen the EU rules regarding the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing without discussion (for the official press release see: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2018/05/14/money-laundering-and-terrorist-financing-new-rules-adopted/).
The current President of the European Council (Vladislav Goranov) said that “these new rules respond to the need for increased security in Europe by further removing the means available to terrorists. They will enable us to disrupt criminal networks without compromising fundamental rights and economic freedoms.”
The key items of the directive entail:
- Broader access to information on beneficial ownership, improving transparency in the ownership of companies and trusts;
- Addressing risks linked to prepaid cards and virtual currencies (such as bitcoin);
- Cooperation between financial intelligence units; and
- Improved checks on transactions involving high-risk third countries.
All countries of the European Union are obliged to implement the EU rules of this directive and previous directives on anti-money laundering and terrorist financing.
In the Netherlands the government is working on a so-called Ultimate Beneficial Ownership register (“UBO-Register”) in which the data of the ultimate beneficial owners of Dutch companies shall be registered. However, the legislative proposal with respect to this UBO-Register is still not finished, and yet the European Council introduced new (possibly stricter) rules already.
It seems the Dutch government has to come up with a legislative proposal soon though, in order to keep up with the directives adopted by the European Council on this subject and to meet the (European) obligations on this.
Most likely to be continued soon!
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