Partner Maria Theodoulou comments in IBA in relation to the latest European Anti-Money Laundering Directive.

 

Maria’s comments were published in IBA, 14 March 2016, and can be read here.

“A key part of an in-house lawyer’s role is, of course, to keep abreast of any new rules and regulatory regimes affecting how their company does business. But general counsel is likely to face challenges when it comes to preparing for the Fourth European Union Anti-Money Laundering Directive (Directive (EU) 2015-849)…

…4MLD is unlikely to satisfy those campaigning for complete transparency, says Maria Theodoulou, partner at Stokoe Partnership. But it goes a long way to ensuring the ownership of companies and their assets are transparent.

‘Ultimately, the real test of whether the new system meets the calls for transparency will be determined by how the courts interpret the meaning of “legitimate interest”, and who will be granted access to the new registers,’ says Theodoulou…

For organisations that have previously taken steps to comply with the third AML Directive, says Theodoulou, the burden of 4MLD is unlikely to be dramatic. ‘Once businesses have undertaken a review of their policies and procedures to ensure they function properly, the only substantial additional burden will come from the need for ongoing and specific risk assessments.

‘Obviously, the real benefit for businesses will be increased certainty that they are not becoming inadvertently involved in transactions that are linked to money-laundering or terrorist funding. For those that “beef up” their policies and adopt proper risk assessment, they should be better protected from regulatory and civil actions.’”

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