On 20 July 2021, the European Commission launched the new package of legislative proposals on combating money laundering and terrorist financing (AML/ATF). The aim is to protect the integrity of the EU financial system, to help protect European citizens against terrorism and organized crime. This topic, but also others, such as the stage of the National Risk Assessment, the new regulation on the organization and functioning of the ONPCSB and other topics that we invite you to discover in the interview kindly given by Mrs. Daciana Dumitru, Director of the Analysis and Information Processing Department within the National Office for the Prevention and Combating of Money Laundering (ONPCSB). You will find these topics debated and analyzed in the following material.
What news will the new European legislative package on combating money laundering, launched by the European Commission on July 20, 2021, bring?
The new package of legislative proposals on combating money laundering and terrorist financing (AML/ATF) was launched by the European Commission on 20 July 2021 and is intended to strengthen EU rules related to combating these phenomena. Its role is to protect the integrity of the EU financial system, to help protect European citizens against terrorism and organized crime, and its main aim is to close the legal loopholes exploited by criminals to launder money or finance terrorist activities through financial system.
The package includes four legislative proposals:
- A AML/ATF Regulation. It contains applicable rules, including measures to know the clients and the real beneficiaries.
- A new Directive on Combating Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, namely the Sixth Directive. It will replace the current Directive 2015/849, as amended by the Fifth Directive, and will contain provisions on national supervisory authorities and financial intelligence units in the Member States;
- Revision of Regulation 2015/847/EU on the transfer of funds, in order to allow tracking of crypto-asset transfers;
- A Regulation establishing a new EU Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Finance Authority (AMLA).
The focus of the legislative package is the establishment of the new anti-money laundering authority – AMLA.
According to specialists, AMLA will have to:
- establish a single integrated EU-wide anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing surveillance system, based on common surveillance methods and the convergence of high standards of surveillance;
- ensure the direct supervision of some of the financial institutions that present the greatest risks and operate in a large number of Member States or that require immediate remedial action;
- monitor and coordinate the national supervisory authorities responsible for other financial institutions, as well as coordinate the supervisory authorities of non-financial institutions;
- support cooperation between national financial intelligence units and facilitate their joint coordination and analysis, with a view to better detecting illicit cross-border financial flows.
The legislative package launched by the Commission is to be examined by the European Parliament and the Council. It can be consulted at https://ec.europa.eu/info/publications/210720-anti-money-laundering-countering-financing-terrorism_en.
What is the stage of the National Risk Assessment (deadline)? On the gambling side, how did you collaborate with ONJN and the actors in the field to complete the evaluation?
Regarding the status of the National Risk Assessment, ONPCSB informed the Government of Romania – during the Government Meeting of 19.08.2021, and the project can be consulted at: https://sgg.gov.ro/1/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/INFO-1.pdf
For the preparation of the report, information was requested from various state institutions, including the ONJN.
ONJN transmitted the requested information on time, which was complete and comprehensive, without the need for returns.
ONPCSB has a new ROF. What can you tell us about the new organization?
The regulation on the organization and functioning of the ONPCSB was approved by GD NR.491/2021 and can be consulted at http://www.onpcsb.ro/pdf/hgnrof.PDF.
The new regulations establishing the organizational and functional structure of the Office are a legislative instrument that guarantees, once again, ensuring the operational and functional independence of the institution so that the Office, as an authority in its field of competence, can fulfill its obligations regarding the legislative harmonization with European Directives, it can draw up the relevant secondary legislation, including the one that will legislate, at national level, the new legislative package launched by the European Commission.
What expectations will the ONPCSB have from the gambling operators in our country regarding the implementation of the 6th Directive? What should operators in the field expect?
Anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing (AML/ATF) legislation must be applied effectively and consistently to combat crime and ensure the protection of the financial system.
In this context, the ONPCSB expects gambling operators to increase compliance with international standards in the field of AML/ATF.
The proposal for a Directive made on 7 July 2021 states in point 8 on page 14 that “Supervisors should ensure that, regarding currency exchange offices, (….) or providers of gambling services, there are persons who effectively direct the management of such entities and that the beneficial owners of such entities act with honesty and integrity and possess the knowledge and expertise necessary to perform their functions.”
How can this be verified in our country and specifically in the field of gambling? Are there certain criteria of professional and ethical probity by which employers should be employed in these positions on the transposition of Directive 6 into their company? Do they need to be accredited by someone?
At this moment, it is too soon to talk about the way in which the Sixth Directive will be transposed in Romania and what will be the subsequent legislative acts.
With regard to the current legislation, namely Law 129/2019on preventing and combating money laundering and terrorist financing, as well as for the amendment and completion of some normative acts, with the subsequent amendments and completions, it contains provisions regarding the fact that persons holding a managerial position in gambling service providers, as well as persons who are their actual beneficiaries, are suitable and competent persons, which may protect those entities against their misuse for criminal purposes, as follows:
(1) It is forbidden to carry out activities without authorization or registration by the following entities: currency exchange offices and entities that manage tourist reception structures with tourist accommodation functions provided in art. 30 para. (1), gambling service providers, service providers for trusts, companies and other legal entities or constructions, providers of exchange services between virtual currencies and fiat currencies, as well as providers of digital wallets.
(2) The competent authorities referred to in art. 26 para. (1). shall be required to verify that the persons holding a management position within the entities referred to in par. 1. and the persons who are the real beneficiaries of these entities are appropriate and competent persons who can protect those entities against their misuse for criminal purposes.
In Chapter IV, art. 29, point 6 of the proposal for a Directive 6, states that Member States shall ensure that financial supervisors and supervisors responsible for gambling operators have additional powers in addition to those referred to in paragraph 5, including the power to investigate the commercial premises of the obliged entity without prior notice if the proper conduct and efficiency of the inspection so require and that they thus have all the means necessary to carry out such an investigation. Who will do such inspections: ONJN or ONPCSB? Or mixed teams? Or another entity that will be established soon? We ask this because we know that the ONPCSB has no executive role, but only that of legislative regulation and monitoring of the field.
As we mentioned before, it is too soon to talk about the way in which the Sixth Directive will be transposed in Romania and what will be the subsequent legislative acts.
Currently, Law 129/2019 for preventing and combating money laundering and terrorist financing, as well as for amending and supplementing some normative acts, with subsequent amendments and completions, provides the following:
(1) The application of the provisions of this law shall be supervised and controlled, within the duties of the service, by the following authorities and bodies:
- a)National Bank of Romania and the Financial Supervisory Authority, for the categories of entities subject to supervision according to the provisions of 27, respectively art. 28;
- b)The National Agency for Fiscal Administration and other financial/fiscal control authorities shall control the reporting entities, except for those supervised by the authorities referred to in point a), regarding the fulfillment of the reporting obligations provided in 7 para. (1), (3) and (5);
- c)The National Gambling Office for the reporting entities provided in 5 para. (1) point d);
- d)The Office, for all reporting entities not subject to the supervision of the authorities referred to in point a);
- e)self-regulatory bodies, for the reporting entities they represent and coordinate.
(3) The Office may carry out checks on legal persons and on entities without legal personality, other than those under the supervision of the authorities provided in par. (1) point a), when the data held by the Office are suspected of money laundering or terrorist financing regarding the transactions carried out by them.
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