Danske Bank scandal shows that anti-money laundering rules need to be applied equally across EU 

Press Releases 

A delegation of MEPs from the European Parliament’s special committee on financial crime, tax evasion and tax avoidance have concluded their fact-finding mission to Denmark and Estonia.

MEPs first travelled to Estonia, the country through which Danske Bank performed the bulk of the money laundering which has come to light. Subsequently, they concluded their visit in Denmark, meeting among others Denmark’s industry and finance minister, leading managers of Danske Bank, Danish investigative journalists, NGOs, and the banking watchdog authority.

Three of the lead members of the delegation made the following comments at the end of their visit to Denmark.

Petr Ježek (ALDE, CZ), Chair of the committee

"A financial crisis broke out ten years ago. We managed to adopt wide measures in order to make our financial system safer from the prudential point of view. Now we must do it from the point of view of anti-money laundering. It requires a central EU anti-money laundering body, legislation implemented and enforced in the same way, in all Member States, and enhanced cooperation between national authorities. Finally systems detecting suspicious bank transactions must be more efficient and focused.”

Dariusz Rosati (EPP, PL)

“The Danske Bank scandal is a result of the complete failure of both - private and institutional - safety and monitoring mechanisms. The mission has unfortunately proven again that the current national and European framework is unable to identify major money laundering schemes. We have to develop a better pan-European solution to ensure proper supervision and effective enforcement through dissuasive sanctions against criminal individuals and entities.”

Jeppe Kofod (S&D, DK), co-rapporteur

“The Danske Bank scandal has laid bare systemic failings by both the bank itself and by authorities, who have failed to properly supervise and implement anti-money laundering checks and provisions. This was aggravated by the fact that cooperation between the Danish and the Estonian Financial Supervisory Authorities has been marred by differences of opinion on jurisdiction and an apparent lack of action by the Danish FSA. This shows that minimum harmonisation standards in terms of regulation are clearly not enough. Moreover, fragmented system of supervision of cross-border flows of capital is inadequate to prevent, investigate and prosecute financial crimes. We need standardised mechanisms for reporting, better sharing of information and centralisation of anti-money laundering supervision 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).