EU heavyweight states push for joint supervisor against money laundering

  • In US
  • 2019-11-09 08:38:12Z
  • By Reuters

By Francesco Guarascio

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union's largest states are pushing for the establishment of a new supervisory authority that would take over from states the oversight of money laundering at financial firms, after a series of scandals at the bloc's banks.

In a joint statement, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Latvia said the 28-country EU needed a "central supervisor" to tackle the flow of dirty money within the bloc's financial system.

The move comes after European lenders were shut down over money laundering in Latvia, Malta and Cyprus, while top banks from the Baltic and Northern Europe were involved in dodgy transactions worth billions of euros of Russian dirty money through the Estonian branch of Danske Bank, in what is seen as the worst money-laundering scandal on the continent.

The need for an EU supervisor emerged after repeated failures by national watchdogs at spotting and countering money laundering, the statement said.

"Where large financial interests are at stake, there is a risk of national supervisors being influenced directly or indirectly by supervised institutions or interest groups," the statement said.

The six countries said the new supervisor could be a new body or an existing watchdog, the European Banking Authority (EBA), which would need to be beefed up.

The call for change comes just few months after the bloc has agreed to overhaul EBA's mandate to give the watchdog new powers to tackle money laundering.

That reform, proposed by EU finance commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis, a former prime minister of Latvia, quickly appeared as insufficient to many observers.

The move marks a major shift in Germany's position. While France, Italy and Spain have been calling for months for stronger rules against money laundering, Berlin had opposed more ambitious changes in recent overhauls.

The six states also call for new anti-money laundering rules, in what would be the sixth review of those provisions, just one year after their latest overhaul was agreed in a reform now judged as "not decisive" by the six countries.

Existing rules should be merged into a single piece of legislation directly applicable in EU states, the statement said, reversing the existing system that allows countries to adapt EU money-laundering rules to national prerogatives.

That has caused lenient application of the rules in several states that, the statement says, could offer "arbitrage opportunities" to lure financial firms.

The move comes after EU finance ministers discussed a reform of money-laundering rules at a meeting last month and before another gathering in December when a common EU stance is expected to be adopted on the matter.

The Finnish presidency of the bloc prepared in October a draft of the paper that should be adopted in December, which called for changes similar to those contained in the six-country statement [nL5N27A4ER].

(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; editing by Jonathan Oatis)


More Related News

Buttigieg, Fellow Dems Seek Distance from Warren
Buttigieg, Fellow Dems Seek Distance from Warren's Pledge 'Never to Give Ambassadorial Positions to Wealthy Donors'

Senator Elizabeth Warren's Democratic primary opponents have proven hesitant to accept her challenge to "never to give ambassadorial positions to wealthy donors.""Anyone who gives a big donation, don't ask to be an ambassador," Warren said during Wednesday's debate, after taking a swipe at Trump donor and Ambassador to the European Union Gordon. "I ask everyone running for president to join me in that," Warren said Wednesday, before her campaign followed up with a tweet Thursday.> Ambassador Gordon Sondland got his job after writing a $1 million check to Donald Trump's inaugural committee. This is Washington corruption at its worst. I've pledged never to give ambassadorial positions to...

Germany to Put Intense Pressure on France to Open EU Enlargement
Germany to Put Intense Pressure on France to Open EU Enlargement
  • World
  • 2019-11-20 17:33:13Z

(Bloomberg) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel will pressure France to accelerate the process for two Western Balkan nations to begin negotiations to join the European Union after French President Emmanuel Macron moved to make it tougher for the bloc to accept new members."We must now talk with France, and we will do this very intensely, about which elements exactly will have to improved or changed in the accession process," Merkel told reporters in Zagreb on Wednesday. "We want an agreement about this as soon as possible so that we will be able to make progress in the concrete cases."Merkel's comments come after Macron wielded a veto last month to block the EU's plan to start membership...

Putin attacks
Putin attacks 'strange' European plans to reduce gas usage

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday rubbished European calls to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, saying that such ideas could lead to humans living in caves again. Speaking at an investment forum in Moscow, Putin also slammed shale gas production through fracking as dirty and environmentally damaging, saying Russia -- one of the world's top gas producers -- would never use this technology. Asked what he thought of Europe's moves to reduce use of gas, for which it is heavily dependent on Russia, Putin said that "in my view, disdaining such a clean hydrocarbon as gas is absolutely strange".

U.S. Ambassador Sondland says he followed Trump
U.S. Ambassador Sondland says he followed Trump's orders on Ukraine
  • US
  • 2019-11-20 14:03:25Z

U.S. envoy Gordon Sondland told lawmakers on Wednesday that President Donald Trump ordered him to work with Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani on Ukraine matters, and that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was aware and "fully supportive" of their efforts. Sondland, the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, said Giuliani's efforts to push Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Trump's political rivals "were a quid pro quo for arranging a White House visit for Zelenskiy," he said prepared testimony for an impeachment hearing.

Why Gordon Sondland is key witness in Trump impeachment hearings
Why Gordon Sondland is key witness in Trump impeachment hearings
  • US
  • 2019-11-20 06:03:03Z

Sondland spoke to Trump half a dozen times from mid-July to mid-September, according to the testimony of other witnesses, and could shed light on whether Trump abused his power by making U.S. security aid to Ukraine contingent on Kiev's agreement to investigate Burisma, an energy company on which Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President and political rival Joe Biden, had served as a board member. Initially, he testified that he knew of no preconditions to the assistance.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: US