The EU Commission acknowledges the need for action in the fight against money laundering in the financial sector. In a letter, the three Commissioners Frans Timmermans, Valdis Dombrovskis and Věra Jourová called on the European supervisory authorities EBA (European Banking Authority), ESMA (European Securities and Markets Authority), EIOPA (European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority) and SSM (Single Supervisory Mechanism) to jointly develop proposals to strengthen the supervision of money laundering in the financial sector. This is the Commission’s response to recent money laundering scandals by banks in Latvia, Estonia and Malta, which have exposed weaknesses in the fight against money laundering in the banking union. A new working group will now be assigned with the task to present initial ideas by the end of July on how the work of national authorities in the EU can be better coordinated and monitored. So far, the Commission is hesitating to propose a European anti-money laundering authority. The European Parliament has not yet been invited to participate in the working group.
MEP Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group commented:
“This is a step forward against money laundering in Europe and a nice success for insistence to draw consequences from the latest money laundering scandals at ABLV, Dansk Bank and Versobank. The Commission understands that European money laundering supervision in the financial sector is insufficient. In a banking union we need the competence at EU level to enforce European anti-money laundering rules. The Commission must now put forward a legislative proposal for a European anti-money laundering authority, as the European Parliament, several bank supervisors and national anti-money laundering authorities have already called for. We also need clarity about the powers to withdraw banking licences for breaches of anti-money laundering rules. It is unacceptable that the ECB is depending on decisions of national anti-money laundering authorities to close a bank because of risks from financial crime. Finally, national legislation on banking resolution and insolvencies must be further harmonised.
The new working group on money laundering should work closely with the European Parliament, which has made far-reaching proposals to improve money laundering supervision in the EU. The Commission should grant Parliament at least observer status. When the working group presents its initial results at the end of July, it should report to the European Parliament’s Special Committee against Tax Avoidance and Money Laundering”.
Letter from EU Commissioners Frans Timmermans, Valdis Dombrovskis and Věra Jourová to EBA, ESMA, EIOPA and SSM:
Answers of the ECB to my written questions regarding money laundering scandals in the banking sphere: