Cabinet approves bill to transpose EU money laundering directive into Irish law

New legislation to transpose most of the Fourth EU Money Laundering Directive into Irish law has been approved by the Cabinet.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan yesterday received approval for his Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Bill 2018.

Some of the provisions of the EU Directive will be transposed in separate legislation from the Department of Finance.

Mr Flanagan’s bill also implements the most recent recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force, an international standard-setting body.

It deals, first and foremost, with customer due diligence, putting the onus for risk assessment on financial institutions, which will be obliged to carry out business-wide and individual assessments.

Another key provision is expanding the remit of the Financial Intelligence Unit, a part of An Garda Síochána which receives information from designated persons about suspicious transactions.

The bill also expands the definition of a “politically exposed person” under the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010 to include persons holding certain political, judicial or other offices in Ireland, as well as abroad as currently defined.

The new law will lower the threshold for determining whether a high-value goods dealer falls under the Act from €15,000 to €10,000.

Mr Flanagan said: “This Bill is really important. The reality is that money laundering is a crime that helps serious criminals and terrorists to function, destroying lives in the process.

“Criminals seek to exploit the EU’s open borders and this EU-wide measure is really important for that reason.

“I and my Government colleagues are committed to systematically tackling corruption and organised crime and this Bill is one aspect of an important package of measures the Government introduced in November.”

The Cabinet has also approved an amendment to the Criminal Justice (Corruption Offences) Bill 2017, which is currently before the Dáil.

The amendment ensures full implementation of Article 7 of the OECD Convention on the Bribery of Foreign Public Officials by making it an offence to launder the proceeds of bribery outside Ireland involving a foreign public official even if the bribery was not an offence in the place it was carried out.