EXCLUSIVE: Germany Makes a Bid to Host Bloc-wide AML Authority

By Gabriel Vedrenne

German officials are hoping to make Frankfurt home to the EU’s planned Anti-Money Laundering Authority, also known as AMLA, although officials in Brussels say no decision has been made on where the authority will be headquartered.

A sentence buried in the “other approvals” section of thousands of pages of German federal budget documents Friday proposes to set aside €10 million to cover “financial support for the new AMLA in Frankfurt” from 2023 to 2027.

The German proposal calls for €10 million to be paid out in €2 million annual installments.

“Discussions in the EU council about the final version of the AML package and the AMLA’s location are still ongoing,” a Commission official told ACAMS moneylaundering,com.

The EU’s executive branch, the European Commission, finalized plans last year to task a new AML agency with ensuring uniform supervision and enforcement of anti-financial crime standards across the bloc’s 27 national jurisdictions, as well as with directly overseeing a limited set of high-risk, systemically important financial institutions.

Under the plans, AMLA will launch by 2023 and become fully operational by 2026, with a staff of 250 employees and a total annual budget of €46 million. The EU will cover 25 percent of that amount, with financial institutions and other AML-regulated companies covering the remaining 75 percent.

Negotiations to define AMLA’s regulatory powers and scope are still ongoing, but the European Central Bank, or EBC, determined in a 21-page opinion in February that “12 to 20 obliged entities” will qualify for direct, EU-level supervision.

In the same document, the ECB recommended enhancing the planned agency’s coordination with national non-financial regulators and potential oversight of non-bank businesses.

Germany, which already hosts the ECB’s headquarters in Frankfurt, was competing with Austria, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania and France, which houses the EU’s current, more limited AML agency, the European Banking Authority, in Paris.

The German Finance Ministry did not respond to inquiries by press time.

Contact Gabriel Vedrenne at 

Topics : Anti-money laundering , Counterterrorist Financing
Source: Germany , European Union
Document Date: March 18, 2022