HC Deb 02 November 2000 vol 355 c613W
Mr. Bercow

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures are presently under discussion at EU level for combating money laundering through(a) the Internet and (b) electronic currency transfers. [134810]

Mrs. Roche

A number of measures have been taken or are currently under consideration in this area.

The revision of the 1991 Money Laundering Directive in the European Union, which has recently received political agreement within the Council, is designed to ensure that all member states have sufficiently robust national laws and regulations to combat the increasingly sophisticated methods used in money laundering. As such it includes specific provisions to ensure that there is adequate identification of customers where no face-to-face contact between bank staff and customer occurs, such as through Internet banking accounts. Implementation will require the development of specific regulations and guidelines in the United Kingdom, applied to all those involved in financial transactions. This is currently being considered. It has been agreed that three years after the adoption of the Directive an examination will be undertaken to consider identification measures for clients involved in non-face-to-face transactions and the possible implications for electronic commerce.

In a separate measure, the European Union has prepared a comprehensive strategy for dealing with organised crime in a paper entitled "The Prevention and Control of Organised Crime: A European Union Strategy for the beginning of the new Millennium". The measures proposed in that document, and to be taken forward in European Union Working Groups, include a specific recommendation to address the issue of money laundering on the Internet and via electronic money products.

At the joint Council of European Union Justice and Finance Ministers on 17 October, it was agreed that a range of measures be undertaken against financial crime, with particular attention to be given to measures to facilitate the fight against the abuse of new information and communications, especially the Internet and electronic transfer of money.