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EU Policy. MPs near deal to tackle football’s dirty money

A new EU law to be agreed on Wednesday could mean extra checks and restrictions on the use of cash for big football clubs

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EU Policy. MPs near deal to tackle football’s dirty money
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06 Şubat 2024 - 12:00
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The EU is about to agree new anti-money laundering restrictions on big football clubs, cash payments and the super-rich.

Although negotiations on anti-money laundering regulation collapsed in December, lawmakers and governments are now preparing to broaden its scope after global standard-setters highlighted the large and often unexplained flows of money flowing through international football.

A meeting on Wednesday evening, known as the tripartite, is likely to finalize the bloc’s new anti-money laundering regulation, meaning it could enter the statute book in time for the June European elections, two sources with knowledge of the talks told Euronews.

Current anti-money laundering laws require obligated institutions, such as banks and real estate agents, to conduct background checks on their customers.

A January 6 document prepared by the Belgian government, which is currently chairing intergovernmental talks on the law, said an extension to the football sector “will only apply to the riskiest transactions” such as investors, agents and sponsors. Euronews.

This means casual fans will not need to have their ID verified to purchase season tickets.

It is not yet clear whether football managers will also be liable entities and whether member states may exempt teams whose financial, cross-border or league situations indicate they pose lower risk.

The new rules, which must be agreed jointly by MPs and member states meeting in the EU Council, are set to controversially ban cash transactions above €10,000, despite the European Parliament pushing for a lower limit of €7,000.

But MEPs can have their way in imposing extra controls on the super-rich.

The Belgian newspaper said high net worth rules should not mean “stigmatizing customers based solely on their wealth”, but would mean banks and trust providers would have to verify the source of funds when offering personalized investment management services to any person. Client with assets of more than 5 million euros.

The overhaul of the EU’s anti-money laundering rules follows a series of scandals, including the handling of tainted Russian funds at Danske Bank.

The football industry is a particularly scandal-prone sector, and oligarch Roman Abramovich was forced to sell Chelsea FC after being hit with sanctions for his alleged ties with Vladimir Putin.

Even if a deal is reached on Wednesday, the bloc still has not figured out where to set up a new anti-money laundering agency that will oversee 40 major banks.

Hearings among the nine cities bidding to host, including Frankfurt, Paris, Madrid and Rome, will be held in the week starting January 29.

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