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6AMLD –it is here this week – may the 3rd be with you

On June 3, 2021

The EU's Sixth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (6AMLD) enters into force for financial institutions and companies, bringing a whole host of compliance-related changes with it.

Below are the critical headlines:-

Clarifies Predicate Offenses
  1. 6AMLD attempts to update, harmonize and clarify what constitutes a predicate offence for money laundering across all EU member states.
  2. It lists, then defines, 22 different crimes that would explicitly now be components of money laundering.
  3. Particularly of note is the inclusion of cybercrime and environmental crime alongside more traditional money laundering predicate offences — a decision that serves to underscore how concerned regulators are about these rapidly growing threats.

Widens Scope of Money Laundering Offenses
  1. Building on the above, 6AMLD also formally recognized:
    • The conversion or transfer and the concealment of illicit property as a money laundering offence,
    • The conscious acquisition, possession, or use of such property.
    • Acts such as self-laundering and aiding and abetting a money launderer
Extends Corporate Liability
  1. Businesses — not just individuals — can now be considered liable for money laundering offences, and law enforcement can pursue the prosecution of both individuals and businesses at the same time.
  2. And those in senior roles within the business can fail to prevent money laundering by junior staff members on their watch.
Introduces Tougher Punishments
  1. 6AMLD steps up the maximum prison sentence for money laundering.
  2. Penalties include up to four years (up from one), fines, professional disqualification, exclusion from public benefits, and, for businesses, forced closure.
  1. While the harmonized definitions should provide a bit of clarity and relief, the number and breadth of the predicate offences, combined with additional liability exposure and harsher punishments, inevitably increase the risk exposure.