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Germany breaks ranks to host AMLA in Frankfurt; Paris, Milan, Vienna, and Riga are next

The competition between Germany and other EU member states to host the AMLA is getting more intense.

This Saturday, a public gathering will be held in Frankfurt by the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party to demand that the Authority be established there.

Uwe Becker, state secretary for Europe and CDU district chairman, will be among the officials attending the event, which will take place in the city's Roßmarkt square. In an effort to entice AMLA, the German government has already put up a €10M provision.

Frankfurt CDU stated, "We advocate Frankfurt as a financial and economic metropolis and banking capital of Germany as the most suitable location."

With this in mind, the party stated, "we want to send a clear signal to the EU Council Presidency, which is expected to decide on the location of this new authority in Autumn 2022, and to Brussels and position ourselves clearly,” said the party."

Now, everyone is watching to see how competitor cities like Paris, Milan, Vienna, and Riga react.

David Lewis, a contributor for AML Intelligence and a former executive secretary of the FATF, thinks Paris is now in the lead for hosting the organization. The European Banking Authority already has its headquarters in Paris.

Frankfurt is not the ideal place, according to him, and he told AML Intelligence: "Maybe Germany should first set up its own AMLA that it announced recently just 24 hours before its FATF evaluation was published."

The Kroll executive explained, "France on the other hand has the best AML/CFT regime in the world according to the FATF so may be less distracted by having to fix its own backyard."

The goal of the event in Frankfurt, which is scheduled for next Saturday from 11 to 1 pm, is to bring together politicians and professionals to talk about the "mandate of the new authority."

Speakers include Sven Simon MEP, Dr. Thomas Spies from Ernst & Young, Dr. Katja Leikert from the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Michael Boddenberg, the Hessian Finance Minister.

Some AML/CFT and Compliance specialists applauded Frankfurt's request to host AMLA.

With the ECB located in Frankfurt, Lora von Ploetz, Head of the Global Financial Crime Unit at Commerzbank AG, stated: "I believe it is vital for adequate AML and prudential supervision to keep as close as possible these two bodies."

"Frankfurt is the right location and you have the right expertise in Frankfurt!" she said.

"Absolutely, keeping fingers crossed for #frankfurtammain", Anna Issel, Head of Anti-Financial Crime at Deutsche Bank Private Bank, stated.

Members of the EU's Economic and Financial Affairs Council Ministers made it plain that they wanted to be the home of the new AML Authority during a meeting in June.

The official from Germany stated that it was crucial for AMLA to be situated "where it can effectively carry out the fight against money laundering," and that "Germany will be one of the candidates to host the new headquarters of AMLA in Frankfurt."

According to him, "Frankfurt is an important financial centre which has surpassed geographical accessibility, high standard of living for the people who might end up working for the agency or the authority, and we have a lot of talent of the first order and it will benefit from close cooperation between the prudential approach to money laundering, and as I have said, if it comes across the Frankfurt, AMLA will become very quickly operational in an effective way."

Although The Hague, Vienna, Riga, and most lately Palermo entered the race, Paris and Milan look to be in the lead.

Riga should have a good chance, according to Ilze Znotina, the former director of Latvia's FIU. "We have already achieved many of the goals set out by the AML package," she said.

"The work of our Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) Latvia, policemen, financial analysts, and banks have resulted in Latvia being the first country in Europe to fulfil all 40 recommendations set by the FATF. Our AML reforms over the past few years are now a model for partner countries."

"We are also proud to be pioneering many AML cooperation initiatives, from the International Financial Intelligence Task Force representing 25 countries, to the launch of the AML Innovation Hub, supported by the European Commission."

The main justification for Europe choosing to place AMLA in Riga in the current climate, when we are all engaged in the largest conflict in Europe since World War Two that was started by Russia, is because of our skill and expertise in fending against the flood of Russian capital.

"We understand, and cannot understate how dangerous money laundering can be to a country. Positioning the AML Authority in Riga will not only found the institution on strong ground, but send an important signal of unity and solidarity," she continued.



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