The European Council has adopted a new anti-money laundering directive introducing new criminal law provisions which will disrupt and block access by criminals to financial resources, including those used for terrorist activities.
The new rules include:
- Establishing minimum rules on the definition of criminal offences and sanctions relating to money laundering. Money laundering activities will be punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of four years, and judges may impose additional sanctions and measures. Aggravating circumstances will apply to cases linked to criminal organisations or for offences conducted in the exercise of certain professional activities.
- The possibility of holding legal entities liable for certain money laundering activities which can face a range of sanctions.
- Removing obstacles to cross-border judicial and police cooperation by setting common provisions to improve investigations. For cross-border cases, the new rules clarify which member state has jurisdiction, and how those member states involved cooperate.
Once the directive is published in the EU official journal, member states have up to 24 months to transpose it into national law, the European Council stated.
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