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EU’s new Anti-Money Laundering Authority to be based in Frankfurt

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The European Union‘s new Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA) will be based in Frankfurt, Germany, the Belgian Presidency of the EU said on Thursday, in a move the bloc hopes will advance its fight against illicit finance, according to Reuters.

Previously lacking any pan-EU authority to control dirty money, Brussels relied on national regulators to enforce its rules, but member states did not always cooperate fully.
 
The Belgian Presidency said in a statement on X that AMLA will play a key role in fighting illicit financial activities, money laundering and terrorism financing in the EU. It will have more than 400 staff and will start operations in mid-2025.
 
“AMLA will be a game-changer in cracking down on dirty money in the EU,” co-rapporteurs Emil Radev and Eva Maria Poptcheva said in a European Parliament statement.
 
“It will supervise the riskiest financial entities, oversee the non-financial sector, and play a crucial role in stopping evaders from circumventing targeted financial sanctions.”
 
Financial Services European Commissioner Mairead McGuinness told a press conference that under the reform, new categories of companies will be covered by the rules such as football clubs.
 
“We’re mitigating risks linked to large sums of money within the EU-wide limit of 10,000 euros for cash payments. At the same time, we’re addressing risks posed by crypto and the anonymity it enables,” she said.
 
The choice of Frankfurt marked the first time that a new EU agency’s host city was agreed between the European Parliament and the Council on an equal footing.
 
Eight other countries had applied to host AMLA, including Belgium (Brussels), Ireland (Dublin), Spain (Madrid), France (Paris), Italy (Rome), Latvia (Riga), Lithuania (Vilnius) and Austria (Vienna).
 
Frankfurt won by far the most votes, with Madrid and Paris coming second and third.
AMLA will “take the fight against money laundering to the next level,” German Finance Minister Christian Lindner posted on X. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz posted that “Frankfurt will be further strengthened as a financial centre in Europe.”
 
The AMLA regulation is part of a wider package of laws to reform the EU’s framework for combating money-laundering and terrorist financing.
 
Now that the entire package has been provisionally agreed between Parliament and Council, it needs to be formally adopted by both before it can enter into law. Parliament is expected to vote on its final approval on April 22-25.