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Dutch Finance Chief Says More EU Money Laundering Bank Scandals Coming

The European Union hasn’t seen the end of money laundering scandals in some of the bloc’s biggest banks, many already tied to the 200-billion-euro ($221.31 billion) Danske Bank fiasco that is still reverberating, Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra said.
“Those who think that this problem is mostly a problem that is linked to some of the banks in some of the countries are up for a rude awakening,” Hoekstra said in an interview in Brussels with the financial news agency Bloomberg.
“It truly is D-Day for the fight against money laundering,” he said even as the EU is scrambling to respond more than a year after the Danske Bank debacle and hasn’t put together a centralized cross-border response to the seemingly unstoppable phenomenon.
With Deutsche Bank agreeing to pay a $15 million fine tied to money laundering as a result of a November 2018 raid of its Frankfurt office which rattled investors and a spate of other investigations around the bloc, the problem not only isn’t going away but may grow.
Hoekstra – ING in his country in his country agreed to a $900 million fine for money laundering that the bank said had gone on for years – is one of a handful of EU finance chiefs who want the European Commission to set up a central agency to stop the flow of dirty money.
He didn’t say why Dutch authorities took so long to discover ING shortcomings so severe that the bank admitted money laundering was financing terrorism because the holders of accounts that should have been flagged as suspicious skated through lenient oversight practices.
“My view is we have only started to see the beginning and every single case that I have seen of money laundering has an international dimension to it,” Hoekstra told the news agency.
“It is time and it is highly necessary to fight back at a much more sophisticated and thorough level,” he said as the EU has been dragging its feet over what to do, some countries reluctant to cede authority of their national anti-money laundering agencies that didn’t catch scandals.
Hungarian Finance Minister Mihaly Varga, whose country has been accused of runaway corruption said national authorities shouldn’t be stripped of powers, while Poland, growing more authoritarian, isn’t eager to back a cross-border authority either.
Spanish Economy Minister Nadia Calvino said that, “It’s all very good to do an impact assessment. The proposal should have an impact assessment. But frankly, we need to move to a European supervisor.”

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