A delegation of MEPs from the European Parliament’s special committee on financial crime, tax evasion and tax avoidance has concluded its Estonian leg of its fact-finding mission.
In Estonia, the delegation met with journalists, national authorities and representatives of Danske Bank Estonia, the branch responsible for the bulk of the money laundering scandal Danske Bank is currently faced with. The delegation now moves on to Denmark to continue its investigations there.
Three of the lead members of the delegation made the following comments at the end of their stay in Estonia.
Petr Ježek (ALDE, CZ), Chair of the committee
“The meetings confirmed that the authorities have learnt lessons from the Danske case and have taken measures to improve the system. At the same time, it is clear that the EU should do more to assist member states to fight money laundering: there should be a central EU authority with strong powers, the anti-money laundering directive should become a regulation in order to apply in the same way in all member states, and national FIUs should be more harmonised and reinforced.”
Dariusz Rosati (EPP, PL)
"All of Danske Bank‘s internal defence mechanisms - risk management, compliance and internal audit - completely failed to identify Europe’s biggest money laundering scheme, also due to massive shortcomings in the bank’s management structure and culture as well as the business model that encourages to take excessive risks. At the same time, the Danish, Estonian and European authorities should have been able to detect the scandal earlier had there been better coordinated cooperation. As Danske Bank and the authorities have failed to live up to their responsibilities, we need to fully assess whether European and national legislation on money laundering failed to be properly implemented or if we need to review it once again.”
Jeppe Kofod (S&D, DK), co-raporteur
“The fact that Danske Bank enabled criminal money to enter Europe is not a novelty. But our fact-finding in Estonia made it clear that the current framework to fight cross border money laundering is not fit for purpose. We need a centralised model of anti-money laundering supervision and enforcement in the EU.”
Background on the committee
Following continued revelations over the last five years (Luxleaks, the Panama Papers, Football leaks and the Paradise papers), the European Parliament decided to establish a Special Committee on Financial Crimes, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance (TAX3), on 1 March 2018.
During its twelve-month mandate, the committee is examining and assessing whether further progress has been made in combatting financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance. To do this, numerous hearings with experts and fact-finding missions are being organised regularly. The committee will conclude its work with a report containing its findings and recommendations, due to be adopted in committee in February and in plenary in March. The co-rapporteurs are Luděk Niedermayer (EPP, CZ) and Jeppe Kofod (S&D, DK).