Nine cities, including Paris, defend their candidacy to host a European anti-money laundering authority

Nine European cities, including Paris, are defending their candidacy in the European Parliament on Tuesday to host the future European authority to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism (AMLA) and its approximately 250 employees.

Paris, Brussels, Frankfurt, Dublin, Madrid, Rome, Riga, Vilnius and Vienna have followed one another since Tuesday morning in Brussels to convince the European Parliament and the Council of the solidity of their file, before a vote expected in the second part of February.

Led by the Minister of Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire, the French delegation in Brussels will be heard at 7 p.m. with in its ranks the director of the French anti-money laundering service (Tracfin) Guillaume Valette-Valla, the new director general of the Treasury Bertrand Dumont , Robert Ophle who is leading the Parisian candidacy, and the vice-president of the Ile-de-France region Alexandra Dublanche.

The French anti-money laundering system meets the best global standards and produces excellent results, a source told the Minister of Finance on Tuesday, to justify the interest in establishing the AMLA headquarters in Paris.

Among its assets, France also highlights potential synergies with other agencies based in the capital, whether it is the Financial Action Group (FATF), an organization already responsible for combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the European Banking Authority (EBA) and the OECD.

There will be a ecosystem of institutions that will certainly provide fertile ground for the actions of the AMLA, the minister continues.

While already hosting continental institutions like the EBA, France has relatively few European civil servants, Bercy also argues to highlight the French candidacy: 1,300 Paris compared to 37,000 in Belgium, 5,400 in Germany, and 2,100 in Spain.

Three buildings have been pre-selected to house the headquarters of the institution in the event of a Parisian victory, two at Defense and one currently under construction near Lyon station.

Equipped with supervisory and sanctioning powers to ensure compliance with European financial rules, the AMLA will directly supervise around forty credit establishments and financial institutions deemed to be the most risky, including crypto-asset service providers.

Better repression of illicit transactions should therefore contribute to making it more difficult to finance attacks in Europe.

Suspicious financial activities represent around 1% of the EU’s gross domestic product, or some 130 billion euros, according to the European police agency Europol.

The creation of the new authority, proposed by the European Commission in July 2021, was approved by the European Parliament and the member states in December 2023.

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