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EU opens infringement to Portugal for failure in law against money laundering

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Paulo Vaz Henriques / Prime Minister’s Office / Lusa

The European Commission opened an infringement procedure against Portugal, considering that the fourth European directive to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing through the financial system was transposed incorrectly.

According to the newspaper Public, the European Commission, led by Ursula von der Leyen, said that Portugal, Germany and Romania “must resolve fundamental aspects of the framework for fight against money laundering, such as the appropriate exchange of information with the financial information units (FIUs) [dos outros países], surveillance obligations [que os bancos e outras entidades têm de ter] regarding clientele and adequate cooperation between FIUs, or the transparency of central registrations of beneficial owners ”.

The three governments now have two months to respond to the Commission’s arguments.

The office of the Secretary of State for Tax Affairs, António Mendonça Mendes, who chairs the money laundering prevention policy coordination committee, said in statements to the Public, which will do it “within the stipulated period” and promises to start “all the changes” necessary to comply with the legislation.

Asked about the problems posed by the European Commission, the office of the Secretary of State for Tax Affairs stated that “they concern very specific issues of deeply technical nature, such as the delimitation of some complex financial concepts or the extension of certain due diligence obligations, in relation to some of which the European Commission even understands that the transposition may have been more demanding than necessary ”.

If Brussels continues to believe that deficiencies persist, the European Commission can proceed to the second stage of the infringement, sending a reasoned opinion.

If the problem is not resolved, you can file a complaint with the Court of Justice of the European Union (EU).

It is the second time in a year that Brussels has put Portugal on the radar because of the transposition of European directives aimed at combating money laundering. In February last year, after the country came under international attention because of the Luanda Leaks, the European Commission opened an infringement procedure because Portugal did not complete the transposition of the fifth directive, which it would later do.

At issue was the delay in operationalizing the guidelines of the most recent directive.

Maria Campos Maria Campos, ZAP //

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EU opens infringement to Portugal for failure in law against money laundering