MEPs have called for tougher measures to clamp down on money laundering in Europe.
They want to introduce an EU-wide public register that would list the names of owners, be they of companies, trusts, holdings or other entities.
The draft text urges companies to provide accurate information about who really owns them.
Dutch Green MEP Judith Sargentini said the controversy that surrounds the wealth of Ukraine’s deposed president is why change is needed.
“The son of Yanukovych, the former President of Ukraine, has put a lot of money on shell companies in the Netherlands, and we did not know. With the register, you will know and you would think: where does the man get all the money?” she said.
The parliament also says the financial sector must be more wary about suspicious transactions.
Some lawmakers say if the plans become law, it would hurt those who finance terrorism.
“A lot of large sums of money are being used through the money laundering process to aid major criminals and terrorists, not only those in Europe, but those might want to cause problems to us here in Europe from outside,” said Timothy Kirkhope, a Conservative MEP from Britain.
The proposed legislation still has to be debated and could be revised by EU governments.
Negotiations would then begin with MEPs to hammer out a compromise.
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