Publication of the Sixth Anti-Money Laundering Directive

The EU published the Sixth Anti Money Laundering Directive (6AMLD) on 12 November 2018 in its Official Journal (OJ), adding to the criminal law-related provisions of the Fifth Anti Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD) as adopted by EU member states in May 2018. Amongst other provisions, a maximum term of imprisonment of four years for individuals has been introduced, in addition to further financial-oriented measures that could be imposed, such as fines and exclusion from access to public funding for legal persons.

The purpose of strengthening the provisions of the 5AMLD is to further enhance the current financial crime regime by adopting further drastic commercial-oriented measures, for instance permanent bans from commercial activities and closure of the establishment involved in committing the relevant criminal offence. The 6AMLD emphasises that the money laundering activity does not merely involve simple possession or use of ill-gotten gains, but expands the definition to include the transfer, concealment, conversion, or disguise of the criminal proceeds, therefore amounting to further circulation of the same. By the end of 2020, a conviction for a money laundering offence will be possible even in the event that the criminal activity which generated the criminal proceeds cannot be identified, which poses an incredibly high risk for legal and financial service providers who frequently process large payments in the course of their business.

EU member states must transpose the provisions of the 6AMLD by 3 December 2020, on which the same comes into force, and inform the Commission as to the relevant steps taken to do so. The link to the relevant directive in the OJ can be found here.

If you have any questions, please contact Marina Stavrou or your usual Harneys contact.