By ALISHA HOULIHAN for AMLi
BIDDING nations have been supplied with the requirements for hosting the EU’s new AML Authority (AMLA).
A key factor cited is “geographic balance” which many interpret as putting some of the larger Member States – such as Germany and France which already host two or more other EU agencies – at a disadvantage.
However the check list has also included questions about whether a host Member State would be willing to cover the rent of the building “indefinitely.”
The “quality of the national AML framework”, vis a vis FATF requirements will also be a factor.
The detailed specifications outline how the agency will initially have just 150 staff, rising to about 400 staff all of whom will need to be housed in one space, a 10,000 square metre buidling.
The office must also provide for 30 separate and highly secure office pods to house the FIU delegates from each Member State.
“FIU (financial-intelligence unit) delegates will deal with sensitive information coming from their own FIU and they are bound by national confidentiality rules,” the specifications outline.
It is intended they will also mix in three “secure and isolated” rooms, “where several [FIU] analysts can meet in parallel, with access to the data of joint analysis and analytical software.”
The building will also need a large conference room where national and international delegations can meet over several days. Examples would be the EU’s FIUs gathering, meetings with banking delegations or pow wows with FATF.
The specs describe a “very large meeting room” at its heart “with a table accommodating at least 50 persons at the front row, at least 60 persons at the second row, and 30-40 seats on the side”.
The AMLA Task Force at DG FISMA in Brussels is co-ordinating the requirements for the new agency.
France, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Lithuania, Austria and Luxembourg are currently in the race to host the new agency after the Netherlands dropped out citing the cost of the marketing campaign.
Last week the Lithuanian government issued a slick video and marketing campaign pitching Vilnius as the headquarters. ‘AMLA go home, go to Vilnius’ is the marketing call to action.
Meanwhile, the Commission’s checklist for applicant countries says other areas to be considered in drawing up proposals are:
- proximity to airports and hotels
- multilingual schools for staff children
- local job opportunities for spouses.
AMLA’s tasks are currently being decided at the Trilogue talks which got underway last Thursday between Commission officials, the European Parliament and European Council.
According to the memo, the new authority will have 150 staff in its first year of operation, growing to 300-350 in the subsequent two years, “reaching probably 400 in cruising regime.”