November 13, 2018 / 12:25 PM / a month ago

EU states back stronger money laundering monitoring of banks

FILE PHOTO: European Union flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, March 8, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union governments have reached a preliminary deal to clamp down on money-laundering by strengthening bank supervision, but do not address key loopholes, documents show.

A series of money-laundering cases at banks in several EU states have forced regulators to act after public outcry.

The preliminary deal, which could be finalised before EU finance ministers are due to meet in December, confirms proposals made by the European Commission in September to give more powers to the European Banking Authority (EBA).

However, it does not address loopholes that give states large discretion on imposing sanctions or the creation of a dedicated agency to counter money laundering at EU or euro zone level, as proposed by the European Central Bank.

EU states have agreed to give the EBA new powers to force national supervisors to investigate cases of suspected breaches of anti money laundering rules, the documents prepared by the Austrian presidency of the EU and dated Nov. 12 show.

Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Alexander Smith

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