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How will the Commission respond to a court ruling that makes it harder to investigate money laundering & tax evasion?

Last week, Russian Investigative Journalist Maria Pevchikh posted an excellent twitter thread concerning a recent ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union, and how it may help shady organisations — often controlled by Russian Oligarchs — hide or launder money in the European Union.

The court ruling invalidates an important part of the Anti-money laundering Directive, which forces companies to be transparent about who actually owns and profits from them. This has helped investigative journalists and activists to shed light on the shady business empires of Russian Oligarchs in Europe, as well as to uncover cases of tax-avoidance and money laundering.

In the ruling, the Court recognises the importance of the accessibility of this information, but states that giving any citizen to access the information would be an infringement on the right to privacy of the company’s beneficiaries.

I decided to take action: I disagree with the court’s decision, and believe that in this case the public interest is more important than the right to privacy of company’s beneficiaries. However, the court has made its decision, and it is now up to us to take the necessary action to ensure the widest possible access to this information whilst respecting the court ruling.

To this end, I asked the Commission the following question:

Last week, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled to invalidate a provision of the Anti-money-laundering directive which gave citizens a simple way to information on the beneficiaries of companies.

This provision has empowered citizens and journalists, and helped uncover cases of tax evasion, money laundering, and the long-reaching arms of Russian Oligarchs in Europe. The decision to invalidate it puts the privacy of business owners before the public interest, and is a significant blow to transparency that will be harmful to European Citizens’ trust in businesses.
Hence, it is important that a solution is put forward that addresses the court’s concerns. Can the Parliament count on the Commission to put forward legislation to restore this vital tool before the end of the mandate, and how does the Commission intend to reconcile the privacy of business owners with the public’s interest in accessing this information?

Question the the European Commission from Karen Melchior.

Parliament stands ready to take the necessary actions following a proposal from the European Commission as soon as possible.

Question to the European Commission

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