The EU’s top court just made it harder to uncover dirty money

Despite the armies of bankers and bureaucrats vowing to stop international money-laundering, there is still gobs of it going on. Money-laundering cases at Eurojust, the EU’s justice agency, have doubled in the past six years. One reason is that tracking dirty money is very hard. Criminals and kleptocrats create webs of shell companies with bogus owners and officers, seeking out countries with lax rules.

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A good tool to fight this are ultimate-beneficial ownership (UBO) registries, where corporations must declare which human beings control them and receive their profits. The EU has required UBO registers since 2018, and America since 2020. The best, such as Britain’s, created in 2016, can be accessed by anyone. The EU later made that a requirement too.

But on November 22nd the European Court of Justice (ECJ)…

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