In an effort to further criminalise the act of money laundering, the European Commission issued the 6th AML Directive 2018/1673, however it has not yet been transposed into national law.
The 6th AML Directive aims to empower financial institutions and authorities to become more proactive in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing. This will be done by expanding and clarifying existing legislation on the certain regulations that are at play.
The changes brought about from the 6th AML Directive are as follows:
- The 6th AML Directive extends the number of offences that will be considered as money laundering to anyone who is “aiding and abetting”, and who will thus be subject to the same penalties and offenses. “Aiding” means assisting, supporting or helping a person to commit a crime. “Abetting” means encouraging, inciting, or inducing another person to commit a crime. Therefore, the expanded scope of the term includes anyone eliciting money laundering or attempting to launder money.
- There is an extension of criminal liability being introduced in the 6th AML Directive. More specifically, legal persons will be held liable for money laundering offences the same way individuals are. This liability is induced if they have failed to prevent a person with authority within the company from committing money laundering. The extension of criminal liability in this context is intended for introducing accountability of big corporations in the global effort to combat money laundering.
- Tougher punishment will also be introduced. The minimum prison sentence is extended from one year to four years for such offences. More so, natural persons who committed money laundering may be subject to additional sanctions or measures; while, legal persons, according to the discretion of the Court can be excluded temporarily or permanently from access to public funding, tender procedures and so forth.
- Last but not least the 6th AML Directive addresses the issue of dual criminality by introducing specific requirements for sharing information between EU member state jurisdictions so that a criminal prosecution for the connected offenses can take place in more than one EU member state.
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