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Daniel Barr: “We must continue to develop the work to combat money laundering”

The criminal economy feeds organised crime and introduces major challenges for society. Both firms and authorities therefore need to do more to reverse the development. The collaboration today between both authorities and firms needs to be developed and deepened. There also needs to be suitable tools to manage the cross-border risks associated with money laundering, particularly for cash-intensive businesses. These were some of the key points from Finansinspektionen’s Director General Daniel Barr as he participated in a panel discussion at Anti-Money Laundering Days 2024 (Penningtvättsdagarna).

The financial market has not avoided the development we are seeing in the rest of society, i.e., growing crime and criminality. As criminals find new ways to commit crimes and launder money, banks, other financial firms and authorities need to constantly develop their prevention efforts. Therefore, work to combat money laundering and terrorist financing has been high on the authority’s agenda for several years, as it is again this year.

Businesses that handle a lot of cash are particularly prone to the risk of being used for money laundering, which places higher demands on these firms’ preparedness and measures.

“The measures firms take to combat money laundering should reflect the money laundering risks that are inherent in their business. In cash-intensive firms, these risks are particularly high, and we have seen that firms need to do everything they can to prevent being used by criminals,” says Daniel Barr, the Director General at FI.

For example, firms must ensure that all parts of their business have sufficient knowledge about how money laundering risks should be prevented and that preventive measures are scaled up when the risks increase or their business grows. FI will focus in particular on these areas this year.

FI would like to have more tools

In order to prevent money laundering, authorities’ work also needs to be more accurate and effective. FI recently requested more and better tools from the Government to obtain background information in its controls. This is necessary to be able to prevent criminals from heading financial firms.

“The financial market should not be used by criminals for their criminal acts. We want to be able to obtain information from suspect and criminal records when we are assessing whether persons who will manage or work for a financial firm are suitable,” says Daniel Barr.

Earlier in the year, the Government presented its proposal to tighten the requirements on currency exchanges and money remittance providers that could give FI new possibilities for conducting supervision of businesses with an elevated risk of money laundering.

Need for closer collaboration on several levels

FI also sees a need for expanded and more in-depth collaboration between responsible authorities. For example, this includes continued development of the Coordinating Function to Combat Money Laundering, which is responsible for preparing the national risk assessment and guidelines for both authorities and firms for matters related to anti-money laundering.

When the new EU authority for central supervision of the anti-money laundering rules (AMLA) is in place in 2025, this will also introduce a gradual strengthening of the anti-money laundering work within the EU. Money is often laundered on an international scale, particularly by organised crime. Through the AMLA, FI and its equivalent in other countries will face better conditions for conducting cross-border supervision and countering large-scale money laundering.

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