New EU Directive on Money Laundering agreed at last!

  • By Andrew Guntert
  • 16/02/2015

BUT remember the need for Registers of 'People with Significant Control' from January 2016.

After a very long drawn out process the latest EU Money Laundering Directive was agreed between the EU Council and the EU Parliament in mid February 2015. Member states now have two years in which they need to put the Directive into national law.

The most important changes include:

  • traders in goods will have a new cash threshold beyond which they must register as High Value Dealers of 10,000 Euros rather than the present 15,000 Euros
  • the current risk based approach will be taken further than it is under the current Directive
  • some of the rules for Customer Due Diligence will be tightened
  • extension of the scope of the Directive to include 'provision of gambling services'. There is potential to agree exemptions at a national level in proven low-risk circumstances. For higher risk gambling services, service providers will have to carry out due diligence for transactions of 2,000 Euros or more; and for
  • beneficial ownership central registers will need to be created giving details of the Beneficial ownership. In the UK (see below) it seems likely that we will have dealt with this issue long before the new EU Directive comes into force?

UK - The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill is currently passing through Parliament and this introduces the need for registers of people with significant control. Broadly this is an individual who owns or controls more than 25% of a company's shares or voting rights or who otherwise exercises control over a company or its management, ie. a Beneficial Owner!

The current planned timetable is that:

  • from January 2016 companies will be required to keep a register; and
  • from April 2016 this information will have to be filed at Companies House.

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