Angela Merkel forgets her face mask in German Parliament
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And the extraordinary move – which also targets Romania and Portugal – has been welcomed by Sven Giegold – who is himself a German MEP – who said his country was a “money-laundering paradise”. The Commission has initiated the first stage of infringement proceedings against Germany regarding the implementation of the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive, which Brussels says Berlin has failed to implement properly.
Germany is a money laundering paradise
Mr Giegold, a member of the Greens, said: “Germany is a money laundering paradise, so the infringement procedure is justified. The procedure was overdue.
“For years I have been pushing for this infringement procedure in talks and submissions to the European Commission.
“The Commission should have taken this step much earlier. For this green success, better late than never.”
Mr Giegold said Germany was “Europe’s problem child” when it came to applying EU rules to combat money laundering.
He explained: “The German government’s negligence in the fight against money laundering is a security risk, as it also serves to empower organised crime and finance terrorism.
“There are gaps in Germany especially in the implementation of the transparency register and the strengthening of the Financial Intelligence Unit.
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“The infringement proceedings are the final warning shot to the German government. It has to get serious in the fight against money laundering now.”
Mr Giegold added: “The actual beneficial owners of companies must be consistently disclosed, as required by EU law.
“An infringement procedure is also overdue because of the deficiencies in money laundering supervision in the non-financial sector.
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“The EU Commission should initiate proceedings here as well.”
A Commission statement published yesterday said the three countries had missed the June 27 deadline to transpose the directive into national law.
It added: “The fight against money laundering and terrorist financing is key to ensuring financial stability and security in Europe.
“In order to step up these efforts the Commission published a six-point Action Plan on May 7, to further strengthen the EU’s fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.
“Nevertheless, in recent times, money laundering scandals have revealed the need for stricter rules at EU level.
“Legislative gaps occurring in one Member State have an impact on the EU as a whole.
“Germany, Romania and Portugal have two months to reply to the arguments raised by the Commission.
“If they do not, Otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion, in other words a formal request to comply with EU law.
“Failure to comply with that could result in the case going to the European Court of Justice.”
The European Union was earlier this month accused of declaring war on itself after launching legal action against 24 of its 27 member states for breaching obscure telecommunications regulations.
At the time, Leigh Evans, spokesman for the pro-Brexit think tank Facts4EU, said the approach adopted by Brussels was highly indicative of the bloc’s autocratic attitude.
He told Express.co.uk: “Just when the EU Commission is under attack from all sides for its disastrous vaccination programme, and when its President’s job is under threat after her temporary closure of the Northern Ireland border last Friday, it goes to war with 24 of its 27 member countries by taking legal action against them. Quite extraordinary.
(Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg)
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