Following the release of the findings of the investigation into Danske Bank’s branch in Estonia, S&D MEPs have called for more EU wide action to tackle money laundering.
S&D Group vice-president responsible for taxation, Jeppe Kofod MEP, and Group spokesperson for the Parliament’s special committee on tax, Peter Simon MEP said:
“Over a period of years, billions of euros from Russia and ex-Soviet states flowed through the Danske bank’s branch in Estonia. The sheer number of transactions and the amount of money involved is staggering. It is clear that the money laundered had ties to both the Azerbaijani regime and Russian intelligence networks. That this could go on for such a long period of time shows that member states and EU anti-money systems and supervision are woefully inadequate.
“The S&D Group has been pushing tirelessly for stronger supervision and harsher sanctions for banks involved in money laundering and closer cooperation and exchange of information that will make those involved think twice before aiding money laundering. That is why we social democrats have pushed the European Commission to come up with proposals to make the European Banking Authority (EBA) a key player in the fight against money laundering, especially if national money laundering authorities fail to do their job properly. We welcomed the Commission’s proposal on this from last week, which would give a more comprehensive mandate to the European Banking Authority (EBA) to address anti-money laundering issues.
“The various scandals of the last few years have shown that more cooperation and exchange of information within the EU is needed to better tackle money laundering and financial crimes. The S&D Group ensured closer cooperation and exchange of information of banking supervisory authorities and financial intelligence in the review of the Capital Requirements Directive IV. The Parliament is currently negotiating the text for this proposal with the European Council and will push to ensure this remains in the final version. However, these measures are only the first steps. In the long run we are calling again for a comprehensive European anti-money laundering authority.
“This is just the latest example of how dodgy regimes, individuals and companies are exploiting gaps in the EU’s banking system to launder money and evade tax. We need to make clear that no bank is too big to fail or too powerful to supervise. We must improve cooperation between national financial crime units to ensure that what occurred at Danske Bank’s branch in Estonia cannot happen again.”