Tuesday 05 February 2013 by Jonathan Rayner

A long-awaited directive against money laundering published by the European Commission today includes new mechanisms to ensure that beneficial owners of companies are identifiable.

The commission's fourth anti-money laundering (AML) directive includes a regulation governing information that accompanies fund transfers. The commission said the proposals aim to provide a more targeted risk-based approach to improve the consistency of rules across the member states.

The proposals suggest 'a clear mechanism' for identifying beneficiaries who would previously have been anonymous. They call for improving the transparency of the rules on customer due diligence to allow a deeper knowledge of customers and a better understanding of the nature of their business.

They also propose expanding provisions for dealing with 'politically exposed persons' to include those living in EU member states, such as heads of state, members of government, members of parliament and judges.

The proposals also target the entire gambling sector - the third directive covered only casinos - and call for greater co-operation between national financial intelligence units.

Michel Barnier, internal market and services commissioner, said: 'Our aim is to propose clear rules that reinforce the vigilance by banks, lawyers, accountants and all other professional concerned.'

The proposals will now be sent to the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers for approval.

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