International Dimension

European Union

In May 2005 the European Parliament approved the 3rd EU Anti- Money Laundering Directive (2005/60/EC)[AAO1]  on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering and terrorist financing. This directive was subsequently adopted by the European Council of Economic and Finance Ministers in early June 2005.

The main objective that the Directive set out to achieve was to align the EEA regulatory regime applicable to tackling money laundering and terrorist financing with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).  The major issues addressed by the 3rd Directive include:


On 1 August 2006 the EU Commission laid down implementing measures for this Directive as regards: 

These Directives were transposed into Irish law through the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010.[AAO2] 

On 20 May 2015, the European Parliament adopted the 4th EU Money Laundering Directive (the 4th Directive) EU 2015/849.  This Directive is designed to remove any ambiguities in previous legislation and improve consistency of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing rules across all EU Member States.  The Directive takes account of the latest recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force from 2012. Furthermore, it outlines a number of modifications to the 3rd Directive in relation to the risk-based approach, ongoing monitoring, beneficial ownership, customer due diligence (CDD), politically exposed persons (PEPs) and third party equivalence.

Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF)[AAO3] , is an inter-governmental organisation established on the initiative of the G7 Countries in 1989 and now has a membership of some 37 countries and 9 FATF-Style Regional Bodies (FSRBs). It is a policy-making organisation that leads the international fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.

The FAFT sets international standards for combating money laundering and terrorist financing. It promotes the effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.

Since its establishment, the FATF has developed a series of recommendations which are regarded as the international standard for combating money laundering, financial terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The FATF monitors progress of its 36 members (including Ireland) in implementing measures. In collaboration with other international stakeholders the FATF works to identify national level vulnerabilities with the aim of protecting the international financial system from misuse. The FATF have identified jurisdictions that it considers as high risk. The FATF website displays this list of high risk jurisdictions. 

The FATF conducts peer reviews of each member (including Ireland) on an on-going basis to assess levels of implementation of the FAFT recommendations, providing an in-depth description and analysis of each country’s system for preventing criminal abuse of the financial system. 

The FATF undertook its third mutual evaluation of Ireland[AAO4]  in June 2006, to report on anti money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism in Ireland. A follow-up report[AAO5]  was issued in July 2013.

In November 2016, FATF undertook its fourth mutual evaluation of Ireland. An eight person assessment team spent two weeks in Ireland meeting representatives from State, law enforcement, supervisors and private sector representatives in an effort to understand all the measures being undertaken in Ireland to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. The outcome of this assessment, the Mutual Evaluation Report [AAO6] was published in September 2017.