On 20 July 2021, the European Commission published a draft Directive as regards access of Member State competent authorities to centralised bank account registries through the single access point.

Article 32a of the Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive requires Member States to put in place centralised automated mechanisms, such as central registers or central electronic data retrieval systems, to allow for the identification of any natural or legal persons holding or controlling payment accounts, bank accounts and safe-deposit boxes. Directive (EU) 2019/1153 requires Member States to designate those authorities that are competent for the prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution of criminal offences in order for them to access and search the centralised automated mechanisms.

The Commission’s latest proposal for a new anti-money laundering directive provides that Member States will ensure that the information from centralised bank account registries is available through the bank account registers (BAR) single access point to be developed and operated by the Commission. The draft Directive seeks to extend access to the BAR single access point to Member State authorities that have been designated under Directive (EU) 2019/1153.