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Money laundering call

Bank regulators need to publish much more information about whether banks are doing what’s required by law to stop money laundering, says an anti-corruption pressure group. This would ensure that citizens and businesses can be confident corrupt individuals and organisations, criminals, or terrorists are not using the global banking system, says Transparency International.

A new report from TI shows that in countries hosting the world’s biggest banks, little data on anti-money laundering prevention and enforcement is published, or is if it is published it is out-of-date.

José Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International said: “Mistrust of banks will continue unless people know they are working on their behalf and not for the corrupt. Corruption and money laundering undermine the basic rule of law, weaken democratic institutions and damage economies and societies. It drives inequality and blocks efforts to stop poverty. We need to see that the people meant to stop corruption in the banking industry are doing their job.”

The anti-corruption campaign group’s study, Top Secret: Countries keep financial crime fighting data to themselves, suggests that data about authorities’ anti-money laundering efforts are only partially available across 12 countries, including Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the UK and the US. This includes data as basic as the number of times banks were sanctioned for money laundering failures in a given country, a number which is only public in four out of the 12 countries assessed – Australia, Cyprus, Italy and the US.

“There is no good reason to keep this data secret. Are they protecting us from the next financial crisis? We, the citizens, have the right to know if the financial sector is being permissive or complicit with illicit activity,” added Ugaz.

In 2013 alone, developing countries lost an estimated US$1.1 trillion to illicit financial flows – the illegal movement of money from one country to another, TI says. Effective anti-money laundering measures, in both developed and developing countries, are essential to end these illicit flows, according to the campaigners.

For the 41-page report in full visit – http://www.transparency.org/files/content/pressrelease/Top_Secret_financial_data_report.pdf.


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