International

EU Wants Tougher AML Enforcement

The vice president of the European Commission in charge of the euro, Valdis Dombrovskis, said Brussels wants more stringent enforcement of anti-money laundering (AML) rules after a series of scandals that rocked the industry, according to the Financial Times.

Brussels, he said, wants to go past what he calls “quick fix” proposals made in September for bank supervision. If instituted, the proposals would give the banking authority more powers to oversee national banking watchdog organizations, which would be his ultimate goal.

Dombrovskis said he wants to converge all of the regulatory standards throughout the EU. However, he’s looking to show the government even more proposals in the new year.

Some of the recent scandals include a small branch of Danske bank implicated in a huge money laundering scandal, as well as the U.S. government’s accusations that Latvia’s ABLV perpetrated bribery and what he called “institutionalised money laundering.”

“You see those money laundering scandals across the EU,” Dombrovskis said. “It is not concentrated in a few countries and therefore we think we need to act. The main problem is not that we do not have anti-money laundering rules. We have … rules and actually quite strict ones. So the question is how uniformly they are enforced across the EU.”  

Some of the current EU rules include a requirement to do background checks and actions of due diligence on customers, and to share information on the way money flows.

A number of European regulators at the European Central Bank want more authority in making sure AML rules are thoroughly applied.

Benoît Cœuré, a member of the ECB’s executive board, said he supports making a single agency to tackle anti-money laundering, saying that he doesn’t think the Frankfurt central bank should do it alone.

Dombrovskis, for his part, said it was “clear that there is an enforcement problem.”

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