Wednesday, October 28, 2020

EU may still bring dirty-money case against Denmark, Estonia

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Denmark and Estonia remain under threat of an EU lawsuit for shortfalls in policing dirty money despite escaping action from the European Banking Authority over Danske Bank’s scandal.

A European Commission spokesperson Monday told reporters in Brussels that the institution still had “ongoing infringement proceedings against” the two countries for failing to introduce anti-money laundering rules, which were due almost two years ago.

Those cases are “including … supervision,” the spokesperson added, suggesting the countries could be working below EU standards to tackle money laundering.

The Commission’s comments come two weeks after the EBA’s board, made up of national supervisors, rejected a recommendation by the agency’s staff that accused the countries’ watchdogs of failing to properly supervise Danske Bank and its Estonian branch.

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Danske Bank last September revealed that over 6,000 “non-resident” clients had funneled some €200 billion through its Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015, most of which was deemed suspicious.

The Commission’s infringement case could lead to a suit against Copenhagen and Tallinn at the EU’s Court of Justice, ultimately leading to fines.

Denmark and Estonia are not alone. The Commission has opened infringement proceedings against all EU countries over the introduction of the fourth anti-money laundering directive (AMLD4), which was due to take effect in July 2017.

Brussels lawmakers have since adopted an update, known as AMLD5, which countries should have written into their national statutes by July of last year.

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