BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union should set up a new agency to counter money laundering after a series of high-profile cases at banks bared weaknesses in the system, an influential think-tank said in a report, urging full disclosure of fines imposed on wrongdoers.
Over the last months, lenders in Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Spain, the Netherlands, Britain and Cyprus have been embroiled in money laundering scandals, with criminal schemes often executed through foreign branches within the EU.
Increased media attention to recent cases has pushed EU regulators to discuss limited changes to the bloc’s legal framework, but proposals to slightly increase the monitoring powers of the European Banking Authority (EBA) face opposition in some member states.
However, the reform should go much further than what is currently discussed, experts at the Brussels-based think-tank Bruegel said in a report on Thursday.
“It is evident that recent anti-money laundering supervision in the EU has been embarrassingly ineffective, and that deep reform thus needs to be considered,” Joshua Kirschenbaum and Nicolas Veron wrote in the Bruegel paper titled: “A better European Union architecture to fight money laundering.”