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EU’s anti-money laundering body finally takes shape

Europe is belatedly setting up an anti-money laundering (AML) supervisor, even an EU financial intelligence unit, but the plan faces tough political tests ahead.


The European Union is finally moving to seal a gaping chasm in the internal market’s institutional makeup, with a new anti-money laundering authority, and a common structure for financial intelligence-gathering.

In a sign of the political tests the new powers will face, the EU has already stopped short of what the European Parliament says is a vital third element – namely a financial police force with investigative capabilities.

The scandals have become so big and frequent in Europe recently that even Germany has signed up to the idea of a single supervisor for anti-money laundering controls. Deutsche Bank’s role as the main correspondent to Danske Bank Estonia, for example, adds to its compliance troubles. Now a US investigation into the scandal around Danske’s offshore clients in Estonia gives more reason for investors to steer clear of Deutsche, and other European banks.


Nicolas Véron,

Just last month, SEB joined other Nordic lenders hit by questions about offshore Baltic clients, causing its shares to tumble 10%, thanks to investigative reporting by the same Swedish television station that triggered the exits of Swedbank’s chief executive and chairman earlier this year.

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