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EU states jostle to host new anti-money laundering agency

By AFP

February 22, 2024 08:13 PM


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EU member states and lawmakers were set on Thursday to choose where to base a new body designed to clamp down on money laundering and schemes to circumvent sanctions.

EU heavyweights Germany and France were staking their claims to host the Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA) but there were calls for it to go to a less prominent country.

The 27-nation bloc agreed last year to establish the new institution, which will also target financing of terrorism, to help better coordinate the fight against illegal cross-border financial activities.

Nine cities are in the running -- Brussels, Dublin, Frankfurt, Madrid, Paris, Riga, Rome, Vienna and Vilnius.

EU countries typically scrap frantically for the right to house the bloc's various agencies.

There are calls this time round for the EU to look further afield than its usual hubs in the likes of Belgium, France and Germany.

For the first time, EU lawmakers will be involved in the process after a 2022 ruling by a top court.

The voting is set to drag on through several rounds.

AMLA is to consist of about 250 staff located in the chosen headquarters.

The agency will have supervisory powers and in serious cases or repeated breaches, it will have the power to impose financial penalties on culprits.

It will oversee the 40 riskiest financial entities and be able to supervise companies that allow people to trade and store crypto-assets.

The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, first proposed the idea for a stand-alone agency in 2021 after a series of dirty money scandals in Europe.


AFP


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