Ireland accused of flaws in enacting EU anti-money laundering regulations

The State, along with France and Latvia, has been given two months to respond to formal European Commission infringement proceedings

The European Commission has opened up infringement proceedings against Ireland and two other EU members for incorrectly transposing an amended anti-money laundering directive.

The State now has two months to respond to a letter of formal notice it has been sent by the commission.

The commission said it had identified “several instances of incorrect transposition” of the fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive into national law in Ireland, France and Latvia.

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”, it said.


Similarly, France has not ensured the completeness of the national beneficial ownership register. In the case of Latvia, the incorrect transposition relates to the functioning of its Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).

The commission said anti-money laundering rules were instrumental in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing and that recent money-laundering scandals have 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,” the commission said in a statement.

Ireland, France and Latvia now have 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,” it said.

In 2020, the EU’s top court ordered Ireland to pay a lump sum of €2 million to the European Commission for failing to implement anti-money laundering regulations in a timely fashion.

Meanwhile, the commission has also sent a reasoned opinion to Ireland and five other EU members – Bulgaria, Estonia, Croatia, Slovenia and Slovakia – calling on them to transpose into national law a directive that streamlines certain procedures, including public procurement and permit granting, in advance of the implementation of a trans-European transport network.

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics