Almost all of Europe’s biggest banks have been sanctioned for money laundering offences over the past decade, according to new research by anti-money laundering experts Fortytwo Data.
The firm found that at least 18 of the 20 biggest banks in Europe, including five UK institutions, have been fined for offences relating to money laundering since the financial crisis, many of them within the last few years, an indication of how widespread money laundering has become.
All 10 of Europe’s biggest banks, including HSBC, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Société Générale and Santander have fallen foul of anti-money laundering authorities, while recent crises at the likes of ING, Danske Bank and Deutsche Bank “only reinforce this impression, demonstrating how no bank is immune to money laundering sanctions, no matter how large”, says Fortytwo Data.
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With a number of leading British banks also implicated in money laundering scandals, earlier this year, Donald Toon, director of prosperity at the National Crime Agency, admitted that money laundering in the UK was “a very big problem” and estimated that the amount of money laundered here each year has now risen to a staggering £150 billion.
Julian Dixon, CEO of Fortytwo Data, says: “It is clear Europe’s largest banks are collectively struggling having problems when it comes to anti-money laundering standards. The increasing sophistication of the money launderers makes this an ever more difficult task.”
However, he said: “These days, there are effective solutions to be found. Technology has reached a level where it can vastly improve the efficiency of suspicious activity detection and all major banks have a responsibility to embrace 21st Century solutions to this problem, rather than continuing with outdated legacy systems.”
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