German Finance Minister pushes for Frankfurt to host EU anti-money laundering authority

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Finance Minister Christian Lindner on Thursday urged European Union countries to select Frankfurt as the seat of the bloc’s new anti-money laundering authority (AMLA).

“A decision to locate AMLA in Frankfurt is a strategic decision to give the new agency immediate access to an outstanding financial and supervisory architecture,” Lindner said.

EU policymakers proposed the new agency in 2021 to stop financial firms from aiding criminals and terrorists. Brussels has so far relied on national regulators with no EU authority to stop money laundering and terrorist financing running into billions of euros.

“The EU should become a world leader in the field of financial integrity and enhance its position as a global standard setter,” Lindner said.

The European Commission in September called on EU states to apply to house the new agency, with a deadline for submissions on Friday. Other cities expected to enter the race are Luxembourg, Madrid and Rome.

Lindner argued that Frankfurt is the perfect location for the agency because it is a banking centre.

“This means that AMLA and its staff will be able to perform their core tasks, including the direct supervision of Europe’s largest financial service providers with efficiency and sustainability,” he said.

Lindner added that having the European Central Bank “as a neighbour” would facilitate cooperation and communication between banking and money laundering supervisors.

He said that Germany is budgeting carefully and setting clear spending priorities. “But let me assure you, AMLA is one of those priorities,” he said, adding that there is a budget allocation for AMLA.

(Reporting by Maria Martinez; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)