Government approves enforcement of European anti money laundering law in Portugal

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Portugal’s Government approved the transposition of a European anti-capital laundering law for enforcement in Portugal.

The move comes one week after the European Commission has drawn attention to the fact that Lisbon had delayed accepting the directive under Portuguese law.
The delay was highlighted following the fallout from the Luanda Leaks which clearly showed that Portuguese companies, either knowingly or unknowingly, directly or indirectly had been used to launder ill-gotten gains allegedly obtained fraudulently by disgraced Angolan businesswoman Isabel dos Santos.
A raft of Portuguese registered companies have been involved to a certain extent in receiving monies either in lieu of shares in the companies or through bank accounts linked to Isabel dos Santos.
“The Council of Ministers has approved a proposed law that transposes the EU Directive 2018/1673 from the European Parliament and Council to an internal judicial order regarding combating capital laundering and the financing of terrorism” the Government announced.
The objective of the directive is to facilitate cooperation between the authorities of European Member States by harmonising sanctions and penalties concerning capital laundering while ensuring Member-States impose sanctions and proportional penalties that are both effective and dissuasive.
With the transposition to Portuguese law, “it is intended to guarantee a judicial regime that is more efficient and complete in matters regarding combating capital laundering and the financing of terrorism, one capable of facing and mitigating emerging risks, namely those stemming from using alternative financial systems such as electronic currency or other virtual assets, as well as the resulting threat from a greater convergence between organised transnational criminality and terrorism”, states the Council of Ministers’ communiqué.
The European Union pointed to the urgency for stricter rules after the discovery of the alleged illicit enrichment of Isabel dos Santos was exposed.