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The Chamber of Deputies to debate EO 14 next week. Journalists, sent out from the committee's debates

Lower chamber Oks anti-money laundering bill following voting related controversy

Deputies have adopted the anti-money laundering draft law on Wednesday after it had been initially rejected. The ruling Social Democrat Party has proposed the vote should be resumed on the ground that some MPs had not managed to vote although they were attending the plenary session. After the votes was resumed, the bill passed by a large majority. After the incident in the plenary sitting, Chamber Speaker Liviu Dragnea has asked for electronic voting system to be checked.

The bill passed by 170 votes to 70 and one abstention.

Initially, the draft has been rejected, needing two more votes to pass. More precisely, it has got 163 votes in favor, 115 against and four abstentions.

While the opposition parties said that PSD-ALDE ruling coalition has got no majority in Parliament to pass their laws, the leader of the Social Democrat deputies, Daniel Suciu argued that the votes of some PSD lawmakers had not been registered although they were in the plenary sitting hall. PNL, USR and PMP accused the ruling coalition of manipulating the vote.

PSD chair and Chamber speaker Liviu Dragnea retorted to the opposition representatives that the vote had to be resumed as not all colleagues had managed to cast their vote. „There have been some colleagues (from PSD, ALDE and from the national minorities group) who voted but the electronic voting system has not registered the vote,” Dragnea claimed.

However, PNL, USR, PMP and UDMR deputies argued the ruling party had resorted to a trick to have the draft law adopted by any means.

UDMR leader Kelemen Hunor said that the vote cannot just be resumed until you have the law passed, because it means ruining the parliamentary procedures.

PMP chair Eugen Tomac accused that PSD is “seizing institutions” while mutilating parliamentary procedures and PMP MP Robert Turcescu denounced the vote as “a political bullying”.

The anti-money laundering law was adopted in the Senate a month ago and, as the Chamber of Deputies is the decision-making chamber in this case, the law will go to the Presidency for promulgation.

The draft contains several controversial provisions criticised by the NGOs. One of them says that NGOs -all, except the organizations of the national minorities – are compelled to declare all final beneficiaries, meaning all people who received financial aid from these organizations.

Last week, the deputies in the legal committee decided to adopt the ban on the bearer bonds issuing, while the bonds issued before the law came into force should be converted into registered shares in 18 months at the most.

The debates in the plenary session in Monday on this draft law, UDMR announced they cannot endorse the bill if the obligation of  NGOs to report all beneficiaries of their aids is not deleted.

Liberals have voted against the law same ground, also announcing they will notify the Constitutional Court. USR will also refer the draft to the constitutional judges.

The European Commission referred Romania and Greece to the Court of Justice of the EU in July this year for failing to implement the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive into their national law. Ireland implemented only a very limited part of the rules and is therefore also referred to the Court of Justice.

The Commission proposed that the Court charges a lump sum and daily penalties until the three countries take the necessary action.“Money laundering and terrorist financing affect the EU as a whole. We cannot afford to let any EU country be the weakest link. Money laundered in one country can and often will support crime in another country. This is why we require that all Member States take the necessary steps to fight money laundering, and thereby also dry up criminal and terrorist funds. We will continue to follow implementation of these EU rules by Member States very closely and as a matter of priority,” said Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality.

The Member States had until 26 June 2017 to transpose the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive into their national legislation

About Alina Grigoras Butu