The European Union has for some time, been trying to work out how best to combat financial crime that impacts EU finances.
Formally launched on 1 June this year, a new office, the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) has been created. It was first established in 2017 with powers to investigate and prosecute crimes against the EU’s financial interests including money laundering.
The mandate of the EPPO’s is ‘to investigate, prosecute and bring to court crimes against EU budgets, such as fraud, corruption or serious cross-border VAT fraud’.
The EPPO’s Chief Prosecutor is Laura Codruța Kövesi, the former Chief Prosecutor of Romania’s National Anticorruption Directorate and former Romanian Prosecutor General.
Here is an interview with the new Chief Prosecutor.
The remaining EPPO staff consists of two Chief Deputies and other prosecutors drawn from the 22 participating EU countries. Unfortunately, Ireland is not participating in the EPPO along with Denmark, Hungary, Poland and Sweden. Sweden is said to join in 2022. Ireland have, however, signed up to the PIF Directive (2017/1371) which protects against the misuse of EU funds, and protecting EU taxpayer’s money. Ireland have the option to join the EPPO at any time.
The EPPO already faces a mountain of work, with over 3,000 reports submitted for action. According to Kövesi, the first new reports of alleged fraud against the EU budget, were submitted from Italy and Germany and arrived within hours of the EPPO’s online reporting system going ‘live.’ We wish Laura and her team success in the fight against financial crime.
For more about accountants’ AML compliance obligations, see our AML Policies, Controls & Procedures Manual for 2021.
The Manual contains all the latest requirements relevant to accountants contained in the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Acts 2010 to 2021 now fully in force. Future blogs will look at various parts of the new and existing provisions of this legislation.