5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive adopted

Directive of 30 May 2018 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing (the “Fifth AML Directive”) was published in the Official Journal of the European Union. EU Member States now have 18 months to implement the Fifth AML Directive into national law (10 January 2020 deadline). The new directive, which aims to bring more transparency to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing across the EU, introduces the following changes:

– The Fifth AML Directive addresses the risks of virtual currencies and pre-paid cards being used for terrorist financing and money laundering. In this regard, the scope of the anti- money laundering regime is extended to additional service providers such as electronic wallet providers and virtual currency exchange service providers. Moreover, the threshold for identifying holders of prepaid cards is lowered from EUR 250 to EUR 150 in order to reduce the use of anonymous prepaid cards.


  • –  Member States will have to implement enhanced due diligence measures with respect to financial transactions to and from high-risk non EU-countries.

  • –  Member States should ensure that registers of ultimate beneficial owners of companies and other legal entities become accessible to the general public (but not the register of ultimate beneficial owners of trusts, which will still require demonstration of a legitimate interest).

  • –  The national beneficial ownership registers will be better connected to facilitate cooperation and exchange of information between Member States.

  • –  The access of Financial Intelligence Units (“FIUs”) to information, including centralised bank account registers, will be enhanced. Co-operation and information-sharing between EU FIUs will also be improved.

  • –  Member States will be required to introduce (i) centralised national bank and payment account registers or (ii) central data retrieval systems and these will be directly accessible by EU FIUs.