27 May 2019

We need to get serious about money laundering in Europe

Richard Parlour

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2019 marks 30 years since the Sommet de l’Arche in Paris established the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to combat money laundering. So where have we come to in Europe and what remains to be done?

Money laundering has been criminalised not just in Europe but the world over. The term ‘money laundering’, unheard of in 1989, is now in common parlance. However, the amount of proceeds of crime recovered as a result of successful money laundering prosecutions, as compared to the amount thought to be available to be laundered, is around 0.1% at best. So why is the European AML system so ineffective in reducing the impact of the underlying crimes upon European citizens?

The major AML issues in Europe can be divided into three distinct areas: governance, risk management and capability. Some feel it is a simple question of reforming the European AML supervisory architecture, but the answer is much more complex and nuanced than that. Money laundering, like climate change and the threats to the natural world, is a truly European issue and needs a truly European response.

CEPS intends to create a Task Force on how to achieve progress in the combat against money laundering at EU level. Interested parties are invited to contact the author, or CEPS direct.