Graham Watson: European Parliament calls for tough new EU rules to combat money-laundering

Sir Graham Watson MEPMEPs today voted on revised EU rules to combat money-laundering and tax evasion, including an EU-wide public register of the beneficiaries of companies.

Liberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watson, who is the lead negotiator from the Liberal group on the legislation, commented:

“For the first time we are asking companies to publicly reveal who stands behind them. This will give the authorities the tools to identify anonymous shell companies and opaque offshore trusts, making it far harder for fraudsters to evade tax and criminals to whitewash their dirty money.”

“Liberal Democrats are the party of In because being in the EU means Britain can work with its neighbours to solve global challenges like tax evasion and organised crime.”

“Pulling out of Europe would weaken our ability to combat money-laundering and recover the billions of pounds of tax revenue being lost each year.”
Commenting on the rejection by MEPs of an amendment that would have excluded small low-risk family trusts from the public register, Sir Graham added:

“It is important to make a distinction between high-risk trusts located offshore and low-risk family trusts in the UK, which if published on a public register could have serious privacy implications.”

“I am disappointed that my Labour and Green colleagues have failed to recognise this and hope that this issue can be resolved in subsequent negotiations between EU governments in the Council.”

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