A directive on countering money laundering by criminal law has been proposed by the European Commission.
The directive would harmonise and establish minimum rules concerning the definition of criminal offences and sanctions in the area of money laundering. It would also implement international obligations such as the Warsaw Convention and Financial Action Task Force recommendations.
If implemented, the directive would make three specific money-laundering activities criminal offences if they were conducted intentionally. These are:
- the conversion or transfer of property, when it is known the property is derived from criminal activity, to conceal or disguise the illicit origin of the property or assisting another person involved in the commission of such an offence to evade the legal consequences;
- the concealment or disguise of the true nature, source, location, disposition, movement, rights with respect to, or ownership of property knowing that such property is derived from criminal activity;
- and the acquisition, possession or use of property with knowledge at the time of receipt that such property was derived from criminal activity.
Criminal activity includes participation in an organised criminal group, racketeering, terrorism, human, arms and drugs trafficking, migrant smuggling, forgery, fraud, corruption, insider trading, tax crimes and cybercrime. Aiding and abetting, inciting and attempting an offence would also be punishable.
Individuals found guilty of such an offence would face up to four years in jail.