What’s the issue?
In 2019, the EU adopted the Directive (EU) 2019/1153 of the European Parliament and of the Council, as regards access of competent authorities to centralised bank account registries through the single access point. This proposal regulates the access by law-enforcement and competent authorities (FIUs) to information about the identity of bank-account holders contained in national centralised registries.
The directive was put for revision in July 2021 by a proposal from the European Commission, and one of the major point proposed was to put in place a single access point that law enforcement authorities would be able to access and search bank account registries through this single access point. This is different than the ESAP as it entails bank account registers and the access is granted exclusively to national authorities in the fight against money laundering.
What’s the status?
The European Parliament agreed on its mandate to enter into negotiations with the Council on 13 February 2023 for trilogues when the Council will have adopted its position.
The Council had been discussing the file and the permanent representatives of the EU member states agreed on 29 March 2023 on the Council’s negotiating mandate for a proposed EU law to ease the access of national authorities to financial information. Access to financial information is an important instrument in financial investigations and in efforts to trace and confiscate the proceeds of crime.
In their fight against money laundering, EU countries will soon have to make information from centralised bank account registers available through a single access point, as this will be mandated by the 6th Anti-Money Laundering Directive . The centralised bank account registers contain data on who has which bank account and where. The proposed law would ensure that national authorities dealing with criminal offences would also have access to these registers through this single access point.
The Council proposes going beyond the terms of the Commission’s draft and requiring that financial institutions share transaction records (i.e. bank statements) in a harmonised format when they are sharing them as part of an investigation.
The text also gives the European Commission implementing powers to lay down technical rules governing how to ensure uniform conditions for the provision of transaction records by financial and credit institutions to competent authorities.
The text adopted by the Council containing its common position can be accessed here.
Next steps will involve trilogue discussions, meaning the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission talking together on unlicking the remaining points and adopting a final text.
Source: EU Press News