On 11th October, the EU Council adopted a new Directive focused on the criminal penalties and investigation of money laundering and the provisions of which include –
- establishing minimum rules on the definition of criminal offences and sanctions relating to money laundering. Money laundering activities will be punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of 4 years, and judges may impose additional sanctions and measures (e.g. temporary or permanent exclusion from access to public funding, fines, etc.). Aggravating circumstances will apply to cases linked to criminal organisations or for offences conducted in the exercise of certain professional activities;
- the possibility of holding legal entities liable for certain money laundering activities which can face a range of sanctions (e.g. exclusion from public aid, placement under judicial supervision, judicial winding-up, etc.); and
- removing obstacles to cross-border judicial and police co-operation by setting common provisions to improve investigations. For cross-border cases, the new rules clarify which Member State has jurisdiction, and how those States involved co-operate, as well as how to involve Eurojust.
Once the Directive is published in the EU Official Journal, Member States have up to 24 months to transpose it into national law.