Today, the European Parliament’s new Special Committee TAX3 held its first public hearing on the fight against money laundering in the European banking system. Bank supervisors and anti-money laundering authorities from Latvia, Malta and Estonia, as well as representatives of the European Banking Authority (EBA), European Central Bank (ECB) and the Single Resolution Board (SRB), revealed the legal and practical obstacles to cooperation in the fight against money laundering in the EU financial sector. They unanimously expressed their wish for new common institutions to combat money laundering at EU level.
MEP Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group commented:
“This is a step forward against money laundering in Europe. Today, all national and European banking supervisors agreed that we need common European institutions to combat money laundering. Cooperation between national authorities will be facilitated by the new Anti-Money Laundering Directive, but better exchange of information is not enough. We must ensure that the authorities in the Member States follow up the reports on suspicious transactions of money laundering, initiate investigations and take action where necessary. The ever new money laundering scandals are embarrassing and a reputational risk for the entire banking union. It is absolutely unacceptable that investigations into money laundering at Pilatus Bank in Malta have still not been completed, even though the Maltese Anti-Money Laundering Authority collected clear evidence and recommended police investigations already two years ago.
The EU Commission can no longer stand by and watch the poor results of the national authorities. It must ensure that institutions within the banking union are effectively supervised in the area of money laundering. In the negotiations on the new Anti-Money Laundering Directive, the Member States rejected the European Parliament’s proposals for a European Anti-Money Laundering Authority. After the recent scandals, the opinion of financial supervisors and the ECB has changed. Now, the EU Commission has to start the legislative process for a European Anti-Money Laundering Authority without further delay”.