While a number of EU countries missed the implementation deadline for the Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive, Germany’s Federal Ministry of Justice has already drafted a new bill to transpose the requirements of the Sixth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD6) into German law.
The new iteration of the Directive focuses less on increasing transparency – which had been the main focus of AMLD4 & 5 – than on establishing minimum requirements for the definition of the crime of money laundering.
According to an unofficial draft of the bill dated 29 January 2020, the new legislation appears to extend the minimum requirements introduced by AMLD6 even further. As explained in detail by Daniel Travers and Marcel Michaelis on the Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer website, “the draft bill contains multiple amendments to Germany’s criminal code, criminal procedure code (StPO) and the courts’ constitution act (GVG) which ‘enormously’ expand criminal liability for money laundering in Germany”.
As stated in the draft bill’s explanatory memorandum, the new law aims to “bring money laundering more strongly into the focus of the criminal prosecution authorities and enable even more intense prosecution”. As a result, the number of money laundering investigations in Germany is expected to increase if the current version of the bill becomes law.
From a trade point of view, AML officers of any companies doing business in Germany “can face a significant personal risk if money-laundering allegations arise in connection with their duties”. It is then essential to closely monitor the implementation of AMLD6 into national law, especially “against the background of the currently discussed introduction of a German corporate criminal law”.
The current deadline for EU member states to implement AMLD6 on a national level is 3 December 2020.