The European Commission has called on three European Union countries — Ireland, France and Latvia —  to correctly implement its laws against money laundering, giving them a two month deadline to get their rules in order. 

In a statement on 24 April, the EC said the infringement procedure involved sending letters of formal notice to Ireland and France and an additional letter of formal notice to Latvia for having incorrectly transposed the 4th and 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directives (4th AML Directive as amended by the 5th AML Directive).

"These Member States had notified a complete transposition of the amended Directive. Nevertheless, the Commission has identified several instances of incorrect transposition (non-conformity) of the Directive into national law. This failure affects, among others, key aspects of the Directives like, in the case of France, not ensuring the completeness of the national Beneficial Ownership register (a database, where owners of a company or another legal entity are registered) by not including in it certain legal entities (fonds de dotation, fonds de pérennité, and most associations).

"In the case of Ireland, the failure refers to the current system not guaranteeing the adequacy and completeness of the information held in the Beneficial Ownership register of trusts as well as regards the accessibility of its information. In the case of Latvia, incorrect transposition affects in particular the functioning of its Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) by limiting its obligation to exchange information with other FIUs."

The EC further said recent money laundering scandals had revealed the need for stricter rules at EU level: "Legislative gaps occurring in one Member State have an impact on the EU. That is why EU rules should be implemented and supervised efficiently to combat crime and protect our financial system.

"Ireland, France and Latvia have now two months to respond and address the shortcomings raised by the Commission. In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may decide to issue a reasoned opinion."