07 Jun 2019
The European Commission on Wednesday called on six EU member-states to bolster their anti-money laundering (AML) supervisory and enforcement efforts in light of recent bank scandals and the risks of crypto-assets.
The requests highlight recent efforts by Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Bulgaria, Sweden and Malta to prevent financial crime, and come as part of the commission’s Country Specific Recommendations, marking the first time that the executive body has linked AML proposals to its member-specific economic guidance.
“Failure to address shortcomings in AML enforcement can seriously undermine confidence in the European banking sector,” said European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis in a speech. “This is why it is a European problem and we much work on it as such.”
Included in the commission’s recommendations are a call for the Estonian Parliament to expand the capacities of the nation’s AML supervision and a request that Latvian officials ensure the effective implementation of a plan that would strengthen information-sharing and highlight risk-based supervisory strategies.
EU officials separately warned Malta of the money laundering risks it faces from it sizable financial and gaming sectors as well as from its efforts to woo cryptocurrency operators.
“Governance shortcomings, particularly in the fight against corruption, may also adversely affect the business environment and weigh negatively on investment. In particular, there is a risk of conflict of interest at various levels of government,” the commission said.
The proposals come amid Europe’s largest-ever money laundering, as law enforcement officials and financial supervisors continue to investigate how some of the biggest Baltic and Nordic banks processed hundreds of billions of euros in suspicious transactions believed to be tied to a Russian money laundering ring.
The scandal has led to market derisking, executive resignations, a bank closure and legislative proposals at the economic bloc-level that would overhaul how Europe polices itself against financial crooks.
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