'Money laundering, customer due diligence and data protection: the CJEU's judgment in Safe Interenvios'

The recent judgment of the CJEU in the case of Safe Interenvios was triggered by a preliminary reference from the Provincial Court in Barcelona (Audiencia Provincial). The Court in Barcelona submitted to the CJEU a number of questions related to the interpretation of the third Anti-Money Laundering Directive 2005/60/EC (AML Directive, since replaced by the fourth money laundering Directive). The replies of the CJEU to the preliminary questions point out in the direction of giving a certain degree of flexibility to the national legislators and to the institutions and persons which apply customer due diligence measures. On the other hand, the measures prescribed or authorised by the national authorities and the measures applied in individual cases by banks and other institutions and persons covered by the AML Directive need to be preceded by comprehensive risk assessments. Those risk assessments should lead to the definition of measures which are appropriate to the identified level of risk. The measures can vary depending on the type of customer, business relationship, product or transaction.

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