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Frankfurt Wins Out The Competition To Host New EU Anti-Money Laundering Agency

Frankfurt, the financial center in Germany, beat eight other countries and became the hub for the European Union's Anti-Money Laundering Authority.

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The European Union has chosen Frankfurt, Germany, as the new head of the Anti-Money Laundering Authority, which will be the supervising authority over the crypto sector.

The European Parliament and the European Council came to a common understanding about the headquarters being located in Frankfurt, the financial center of Germany, and also serves as the domain of the European Central Bank.

The cities — Brussels, Madrid, Dublin, Paris, Frankfurt, Riga, Vienna, Rome, and Vilnius — were vying for the position of being the EU’s Anti-Money Laundering Authority host.

“The move would make Frankfurt a more important financial hub for Europe”, Olaf Scholz, German Chancellor posted on X.

“We are eliminating risks that are linked to big cash with an EU-wide limit of 10,000 euros for bank transactions. Simultaneously, we are dealing with the danger which is posed by the cryptocurrencies and the anonymous nature they have,” Mairead McGuinness, the European Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union said during a Thursday press.

AMLA To Target Illegal Financial Conduct In EU

The 27-member bloc agreed last year to create the Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA), which will also target the financing of terrorism, to enable better-coordinated countering of illegal cross-border financial activities.

AMLA will thus act as an important institution in combatting financial crimes in the EU. The organization will based in Frankfurt,  is staffed by more than 400 people, and is expected to start its operations by mid-2025; says Eurpeon Council.

“AMLA will oversee and have the right to impose financial penalties for serious and repeated breaches”, says Belgium, which is the EU rotating chair.

Co-rapporteurs Emil Radev and Eva Maria Poptcheva say in a statement: “AMLA will be the game changer in developing anti-money laundering framework in the EU”.

“It will be the regulator that will supervise the riskiest financial entities, oversee the non-financial sector, and conduct its operations in a way that enables law enforcement agencies to investigate and freeze the assets of evaders during targeted financial sanctions”.

EU Lawmakers’ Contribution In 2024

Thursday’s vote was a precedent-setting event in this regard, as it was the first time EU legislators were empowered to select a location for the EU agency.

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner put in a lot of work to get Frankfurt to be chosen and his department said on Thursday that they were, “really pleased that our bid was chosen for Frankfurt to be the location.”

“Financial crime is a red line for Germany and the EU and it will be handled in Frankfurt by AMLA,” the Ministry of Finance said in a post on X.

Mairead McGuinness, EC commissioner, financial services, financial stability, and capital markets union, adds, “Now we will have a team at hand to organize and set up a framework to facilitate AMLA operation as has been agreed between the Council”.

“It is trust and reliance we want and need to have in the financial system. We further desired to get rid of the illicit activities which source the money laundering and give it a freewheeling, crimes against society, families, children, and women. This is a step that Europe takes on the path of its development”.

This provisional package has agreed between the council and the parliament, the formal adoption by both is needed before it can be implemented as a law. The outcome is all set to be the final vote, which is scheduled for April 22-25.

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Legal & Law Enforcement

Published Date

February 23, 2024

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