The European Economic & Financial Affairs Council met on 8 November to discuss (eg) the European Commission’s action plan against money laundering and terrorist financing activity. The focus was on the proposed 5th Anti-money Laundering Directive (5AMLD), which seeks to (a) improve access to beneficial ownership registers for companies and trusts; and (b) make it harder for prepaid cards and crypto-currencies to be used to fund criminal activity. Several Presidency compromise versions of 5AMLD have been circulated already. The “presidency is aiming for an agreement by the end of 2016 [so that] negotiations with the European Parliament [can] start early in 2017“.

4AMLD will apply from 26 June 2017. 5AMLD is expected to amend 4AMLD, with most of the amendments to apply from 26 June 2017 as well, although the European Member States will be required to enable access to information about the beneficial ownership of companies from 1 January 2018, instead.

The directive requires a qualified majority for adoption by the Council, in agreement with the European Parliament.