Amid the ongoing scandal over the illicit operations of Denmark’s Dankse Bank, Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins is calling for a wider scope of supervisory authority over lenders to fight money laundering.
“The EU should “seriously consider adding anti-money laundering to the ECB’s remit,” said Karins.
In an interview with the Financial Time, the newly-elected Karins also referred to a scandal involving ABLV, Latvia’s third-biggest lender, which led US authorities to accuse the bank of “institutionalised money laundering.”
The lender was charged by the US State Department of laundering billions in illicit funds for companies connected to North Korea’s banned ballistic-missile programme and corrupt public schemes in Russia, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan via a web of shell companies.
“If the watchdog in my country maybe was not up to speed or up to the procedure of carrying out anti-money laundering activities, I worry that we aren’t the only one,” Karins said.
ABLV is the first string on a chain of lenders that funnelled billions of euros from former Soviet republics through the Estonian branch of Danske Bank with the alleged cooperation of German and Swedish lenders.
Maltese lender Pilatus, which was also involved in widespread money laundering, was closed as it was linked with the illegal transfer of large sums of money on behalf of Iran and Azerbaijan’s ruling Aliyev family.
The European Banking Authority recently launched an investigation into the work of the financial regulators in Denmark and Estonia. Its investigation is the second of its kind in recent years after the watchdog handled a similar case regarding the activities of Malta’s Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit following the Pilatus Bank scandal.