The Council of Europe and the European Parliament have granted approval for the establishment of a central register containing bank account details from all EU banks.
This register will be accessible to law enforcement agencies throughout the bloc, enabling efforts to trace and seize proceeds of crime. Originally intended for access by national Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs), the register will now be open to all police agencies. The move aims to enhance access to financial information and facilitate the confiscation of illicit funds.
The Swedish Presidency of the Council of Europe announced the formation of the register, with Swedish Minister for Justice Gunnar Strömmer emphasizing the importance of financial information in combating criminal activities. The agreement between Member States and Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) will streamline and expedite access to financial information by national authorities.
Under the new law, Member States will be required to provide information from centralized bank account registers through a single access point. These registers will contain data on bank account holders and their account locations. The centralized registers will be accessible not only to FIUs but also to national authorities responsible for addressing criminal offenses. This consolidated access will facilitate law enforcement and judicial authorities, eliminating the need for them to collect such information through regular cross-border cooperation channels.
The European Parliament has accepted the Council's proposal to harmonize the format for sharing transaction records, such as bank statements, during investigations. The introduction of a harmonized format will greatly assist and expedite the work of law enforcement agencies.
The amendment to the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Directive ensures that bank account details and statements will be available to all national law enforcement agencies, rather than solely to FIUs as originally planned. The adoption of this agreement is pending endorsement by member state representatives and subsequent approval by both the Council and the European Parliament. The Council noted that the adoption will align with the adoption of other related legislative instruments in the field of Anti-Money Laundering, which are currently undergoing negotiation.
It is important to note that Denmark, in accordance with Protocol No. 22 to the Treaties, is not participating in the adoption of this proposed measure.
By fLEXI tEAM