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Against resistance of Apple: Bundestag decides measures to fight money laundering


A package of measures adopted in the Bundestag is intended to make money laundering more difficult, but it could also torpedo Apple Pay's current business model. The corporation and the US embassy have apparently tried to intervene.

Stricter reporting requirements for real estate agents, notaries, gold traders and auction houses should improve the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. This is the objective of the EU's fifth money laundering directive, which the Bundestag decided to implement on Thursday evening. The reform package still requires the approval of the Federal Council.

In the final parliamentary debate, however, several MPs complained that the Apple Group and the US Embassy had intervened in the Chancellery to prevent the law at the last minute. Also the "Handelsblatt" reported complaints from the US group and message against the proposed legislation in the Chancellery and quoted a parliament employee who spoke of an "absolute exception".

The background is a regulation according to which large digital platforms have to open their interfaces for payment services and apps - this also applies to the payment platform Apple Pay. Banks' payment apps can not yet access the NFC chip in the iPhone or the Apple Watch, but have to resort to cumbersome data transfer methods such as reading QR codes. NFC stands for Near Field Communication and is an interface for contactless data transmission.

Stricter reporting requirements

If the Federal Council also agrees to the draft law, there are stricter obligations for notaries and brokers in the real estate sector when reporting suspicious cases. In the future, they will also apply to the brokerage of leases from a monthly rent of 10,000 euros. There should also be considerable money laundering risks in precious metals trading, which is why the limit for suspicious transaction reports is falling from 10,000 euros to 2,000 euros. Advertising requirements for art dealers are being extended to intermediaries, warehousers and auction houses.

So-called transparency registers should also make it harder to disguise the real ownership of companies via straw men. In addition, the anti-money laundering unit should receive more powers from customs. With this package of measures one wants to prevent that illegal funds are introduced into the legal economic cycle and thereby terrorist networks are financed.

Source: spiegel

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