The S&D Group is calling for stronger measures to fight money laundering across the EU, including an effective sanctions regime with financial penalties when a company fails to comply with legislation.
S&D MEPs will vote in favour of a resolution on Friday 10 July that sets out the European Parliament’s strong position on preventing money laundering and terrorist financing ahead of legislative proposals expected from the Commission in early 2021.
Eero Heinäluoma, S&D member on the economic and monetary affairs committee, said:
“When 99% of laundered money is still lining the pockets of criminals in the EU, we know member states are quite simply not doing enough. There are rules in place, but faced with a patchwork landscape of laws on anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing in different countries across the EU, we are far less effective as a bloc than we need to be in fighting illicit financial activities. On top of this, the recent scandal around Wirecard, with a very dubious role played by the auditors, also clearly demonstrates where fragmented supervision leads to.
“That is why the S&D Group supports a single rulebook with common rules enforced by an EU supervisor. We also call for urgent reform of the audit sector in this resolution. A credible audit of companies is a vital instrument to restore trust and to protect investors. Where companies then still fail to comply with anti-money laundering rules, a strong system of sanctions needs to be put in place to punish bad behaviour through criminal prosecution and a financial penalty of a percentage on turnover.”
Paul Tang, S&D member of the civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee, said:
“The S&D Group has always been at the forefront in fighting money laundering and terrorist financing at the EU level. We cannot let criminals exploit the EU’s fragmented system to hide and spend the billions of euros they illegally gained. We need strong and uniform EU rules to claw back money from the hands of criminals and return it to Europeans who need it, now more than ever.
“Money laundering and terrorist financing can't bear the light of day, so transparency is essential in our efforts. To make it clear who owns companies, properties or investment vehicles, member states should implement transparent Ultimate Beneficial Ownership registers without delay. Combined with an open process to single out third countries who don't do enough to fight money laundering and terrorist financing, we can mobilise public pressure for strict and enforceable rules.”