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    EU Implements Cash Payment Ban Above 10,000 Euros

    The European Union has introduced a limit on cash payments and a ban on anonymous purchases of luxury goods, fueling speculation about the complete displacement of cash by electronic money. The newly established restrictions, part of a broader initiative to combat money laundering, were agreed upon by negotiators from the European Parliament and EU member states in Strasbourg.

    A key element of the new law is the €10,000 cap on cash payments, aimed at facilitating more decisive actions against money laundering, terrorist financing, and the evasion of sanctions. In addition, sellers of luxury goods are expected to verify the identity of their customers and report suspicious transactions to law enforcement. These stringent regulations will apply, among other sectors, to the trade of jewelry, luxury cars, private planes, and yachts.

    Starting in 2029, financially robust football clubs like FC Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund will also fall under the scope of the regulations. Professional football, with its billion-dollar investments from third countries, is considered a potential source of money laundering in Europe, particularly due to opaque financial flows in player transfers and questionable agent fees.

    Authorities will closely monitor cryptocurrencies and banking operations of individuals with a net worth of at least 50 million euros. Business owners holding at least a quarter of shares must be registered at the EU level to prevent the circumvention of EU sanctions by, for example, Russian oligarchs in the aftermath of Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

    During EU negotiations, Germany expressed reservations about introducing a upper limit on cash payments, as such restrictions do not currently exist in the country. However, individuals wishing to pay in cash exceeding €10,000 in Germany must identify themselves and prove the source of the funds, with sellers obliged to collect and retain this information.

    The new EU regulations aim to standardize financial regulations across member states. Strict measures targeting money laundering in cryptocurrencies, banks, oligarchs, and football clubs are deemed “long overdue” by Eero Heinäluoma, a negotiator from the European Parliament. A unified regulatory framework at the EU level will help close national loopholes.

    The new regulations are intended to grant law enforcement agencies, including customs services, greater powers to analyze and uncover cases of money laundering and terrorist financing, as well as to suspend suspicious transactions. The agreement must be formally adopted by the EU Parliament and Council. Simultaneously, negotiators in Strasbourg agreed that a new EU agency, the AMLA, should be established to combat money laundering, with the decision on its headquarters yet to be finalized, considering options like Frankfurt, Rome, Luxembourg, and Madrid.

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