Stricter reporting requirements for real estate agents, notaries, gold merchants and auction houses should improve the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. That is the goal of the EU's fifth money laundering directive, which the Bundestag decided to implement on Thursday night. The reform package still requires Federal Council approval.
In the final parliamentary debate, however, several lawmakers complained that the Apple Group and the US Embassy had intervened at the Chancellery to stop the law at the last minute. Also "Handelsblatt" reported complaints from the US group and message against proposed legislation at the Chancellery and quoted a parliament official who spoke of an "absolute exception".
The background is a rule that large digital platforms must open their interfaces to payment services and applications – this also applies to the Apple Pay payment platform. Bank payment applications cannot yet access the NFC chip on iPhone or Apple Watch, but must resort to heavy data transfer methods such as scanning QR codes. NFC stands for Near Field Communication and is an interface for contactless data transmission.
Stricter Reporting Requirements
If the Federal Council also agrees to the bill, there are stricter obligations for notaries and real estate brokers when reporting suspicious cases. In the future, they will also apply to leasing brokerage from a monthly rent of 10,000 euros. There must also be considerable money laundering risks in the precious metals trade, which is why the threshold for suspicious transaction reporting is dropping from 10,000 to 2,000 euros. Advertising requirements for art dealers are being extended to middlemen, warehouses and auction houses.
So-called transparency records should also make it difficult to disguise corporate real estate through straw men. In addition, the anti-money laundering unit should be given more customs powers. This package of measures aims to prevent illegal funds from being introduced into the legal economic cycle and thus terrorist networks to be financed.