Kirkhope: An update on my Anti-Money Laundering Report

Cut off the flow of money and you can cut off the long reach of criminal groups and terrorists, and help better protect the stability of our economy and the individual.

The power that Money Laundering wields and the damage it can cause should never be underestimated. Where criminal activity in our economic markets is concerned, transparency is a powerful weapon.

Therefore the opportunity held by myself, my fellow Rapporteurs and shadows to right the wrongs of past legislation has been both a challenge and a privilege.

Throughout the process we have looked upon international standards, FTAF, in the need to combat money laundering beyond the corners of the EU, and in cooperation with the rest of the world.

The ability to follow money across borders and seize back assets must shrink, and so must the space in which criminals are able to operate. I believe that this package will help in that endeavour.

For years both consumers and business have run into difficulties with implementing previous legislation. Our aim has been to create a sensible, proportionate and effective way forward in the fight against money laundering.

The second Directive was interpreted and implemented in my own country in a way that made life almost intolerable for small investors, and those who had a normal relationship with financial institutions. This kind of undue burden should not be recreated with a tougher new regime.

The need to create fuller transparency, balanced with the wider impact upon privacy and the need to provide data protection has also been a key element of our work here.

The terms proportionality and necessity are brought up time and time again in our work here in the Parliament. Never so relevantly than in our work on this package.

Previous Directives have had the effect of providing an excuse for Institutions including Banks and Building Societies to move their decision-making further away from consumers, and to introduce totally prescriptive and impractical ways of assessing their customers.

Businesses and financial services need to know what they are looking for and how to address the problem. There needs to be in place an effective reporting and supervisory system. Equally, countries need to comply with and not just sign all international principles and methods, as well as ensure good cooperation with third countries.

If businesses and our trading partners around the world are going to continue to invest in Europe and if we want the single market to grow and prosper, it is essential that we have the right legislative tools and European cooperation in order to prevent and prosecute financial crime. Confidence in any financial system is essential in order for it to grow.

Above all else, I hope that we have delivered something which is consistent and workable. For me the ability to effectively implement this package was at the forefront of my mind.

You can have the best law in the world, but if it is not well implemented or cannot be well implemented, you are nowhere. I now believe thanks to this package, that we will be somewhere!

I would like to thank all those involved, my co-shadow Mr Simons, the shadow Rapporteurs, the other co-Rapporteurs, and I hope that the vote tomorrow, is the start of a new era in the fight against money laundering.

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Chairman, my primary aim for the 4th money laundering Directive was simply was to get it right.

Life is a compromise, much as is the negotiation of legislation between 3 determined institutions.

To those that have raised concerns, I believe we have found workable solutions and addressed those concerns in the final agreement.

New payment methods are emerging every day, with increasingly sophisticated technological capabilities by criminal individuals and groups in the digital and cyber world, we face a tough challenge. 

But I believe that sunshine is the best disinfectant. And I believe that this package of reports shine a lot of light in the direction of criminality.

Again, I would like to thank all those I have worked with.