Italy: warning issued by the European Commission for anti-money laundering compliance

Italy: warning issued by the European Commission for anti-money laundering compliance

The European Commission is taking legal action, through various rulings, against Member States that fail to fulfil the obligations laid out by EU law. These decisions, adopted periodically, aim to guarantee the proper application of European law for the benefit of both citizens and businesses.

One of the most recent rulings to be adopted addresses anti-money laundering, and also directly implicates Italy. Indeed at the end of January, the Commission issued a letter of formal notice to Italy (INFR(2022)) for the improper application of the Anti-Money Laundering Directive (4th AML Directive, amended by the 5th AML Directive).

Whilst Italy had previously reported the complete transposition of the Directive, the Commission identified several instances of misapplication, which concern the implementation of one of its central components: the establishment of a central register of ultimate beneficiaries.

More specifically in fact, although Decree No.55 of 11th March 2022 of the Minister of Economy and Finance (“The Decree”) had been enacted, which establishes regulations on communication access, data consultation and information of the ultimate beneficiaries of legal persons, the implementation decrees and technical regulations concerning the operation of the system were not adopted during the 60-day period after the Decree came into force (9th June 2022).

Indeed, the communication of the operation of the system by the MISE by means of a decision published in the Official Gazette, in turn triggers the 60-day deadline for companies to submit their communications. The ultimate beneficiary must be confirmed every 12 months and any changes have to be communicated within 30 days.

A prompt response from Italy is thus expected in the next two months, as it is well behind schedule. Failing to do so, the Commission may decide to pursue infringement proceedings and to issue a reasoned opinion.