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EU plans anti-money laundering agency

Written by The Frontier Post

BRUSSELS (AFP): The EU on Tuesday said it will set up a stand-alone agency to crack down on money laundering across Europe where major banks have been hit by a wave of dirty money scandals.

Many cases have involved northern countries such as Denmark, Sweden and Finland with a reputation for playing by the rules, but criminal gangs and terrorism are also a central concern.

Revelations often involve bank subsidiaries based in the EU’s Baltic states, through which rich Russians evading taxes and sanctions have allegedly illegally funnelled money.

The European Commission said the patchwork of regulation by national authorities was no longer effective and called for the creation of a new central entity, the Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA).

“It’s no longer enough for member states to do separately what they are doing (to fight money laundering). We need active supervision and coordination,” said Mairead McGuinness, the EU commissioner for financial services. “Behind that money there is also incredible criminal activity, which damages society, whether it’s drug trafficking or prostitution or whatever is involved with the dirty money,” she told reporters.

According to the Euro-pean police agency Europ-ol, suspicious financial activities account for about one percent of the EU’s more than 13 trillion euros gross domestic product.

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