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 Full text 
Wednesday, 18 September 2019 - Strasbourg Revised edition

State of implementation of anti-money laundering legislation (debate)

  Antony Hook (Renew). – Madam President, it was my honour to come to this Parliament after 16 years as an advocate in criminal law, including some time as a Crown prosecutor in the UK. And what I saw in my work was that money laundering is to crime what the circulation of blood is to our bodies. Money can be obtained in a fraud, then reinvested, say, in a drugs factory, reinvested in human trafficking, and then maybe reinvested in weapons – and someone loses their life. Each time, it can move between different countries. Or it can be used to buy luxury cars, luxury houses, private education, anything of high value – lifestyles which motivate more crime.

In my country, the police estimate money laundering at GBP 100 billion every year and we have 25 different organisations meant to have some responsibility in addressing it. It is too divided.

It’s outrageous and unacceptable that some Member States have not implemented this legislation, though we also need partnership that goes beyond the European Union. Money laundering can go into Africa, into America, into Asia, and we need a framework for partnerships that trace money and trace the criminals. We need to change a culture where some law-enforcement officers, be they police or prosecutors or something else, think that money laundering is second-division crime and not important.

Brexit, of course, puts my country at much greater risk.

I hope very much the new Commission will attack this issue with vigour.

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