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New federal authority for tackling financial crime

The Federal Ministry of Finance (Bundesministerium der Finanzen, BMF) has announced that it is pooling forces of the state in a newly created authority with the aim of taking effective action against financial crime and so that it can resolutely enforce sanctions. In the future, this Higher Federal Authority for Combating Financial Crime (Bundesoberbehörde zur Bekämpfung von Finanzkriminalität, BBF) will consist of a new Federal Police Office for Financial Crime (Bundesfinanzkriminalamt) (BFKA), a Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and a new central office for anti-money laundering supervision.

In the coalition agreement, the governing parties had already announced that they would take decisive action against money laundering. According to the BMF announcement of 25.8.2022, the functions of the new units will be as follows:

  • The BFKA will focus on solving complex cases of financial crime and on pooling the necessary expertise for this. It will pursue a ‘follow the money’ approach and will thus focus on illicit financial flows. Furthermore, it will provide clear structures for enforcing sanctions effectively.
  • The FIU, as an independent analysis unit, will bundle suspicious transaction reports, which are the starting point for investigations. 
  • The new central office for anti-money laundering supervision will, in future, manage the supervision of the very broad and diverse non-financial sector that, besides very different types of traders, also includes, for example, gambling operators. The central office will have the additional task of developing uniform guidelines and standards for risk-based supervision. It will moreover act as a central point of contact for the future European Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA) for issues relating to the non-financial sector in Germany.

Please note: The BMF likewise announced that it would organise more training for highly qualified financial investigators and drive forward the digitalisation and linking of registers so that, in the future, it will be possible to check information on ownership and beneficial owners more efficiently.

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