28 Jan 2021

Anti-Money Laundering in the EU

Time to get serious

Karel Lannoo / Richard Parlour

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Between 2 and 5% of global GDP is thought to be laundered every year, whereas only 1.1% is recovered. Anti-money laundering encompasses combating tax avoidance, the financing of terrorism, human (and human organ) trafficking, state-sponsored and corporate bribery, and the proceeds from drug-trafficking and other illegal activities.

Banks and other ‘obliged entities’ complete thousands of suspicious transactions reports on a daily basis yet only a handful are followed up on by financial intelligence units (FIUs). This could be due to lack of capability, capacity or even political direction. Meanwhile, the breadth and means to launder money have also increased, facilitated by technological progress. Unfortunately, the current anti-money laundering regulations have brought little success.

This report sets out the following key recommendations for a new approach to the fight against money laundering.