ASKED recently who was the main regulator of money laundering in Europe, a senior banker in the bloc replied: “the United States.”
And of course the banking leader was on the money. It has been the US which has been dishing out the serious fines to European banks for lax AML controls and there has been a feeling that the European Banking Authority has been far too light touch.
Some would say the make-up of the EBA’s board makes it nigh impossible to issue hefty fines to banks based in Member States when the board itself is made up of the same Member States.
“There is a strong feeling in Brussels that the EBA failed to hold national regulators accountable and that is why responsibility for AML/CFT is moving from Paris,” said a Council of Europe source.
“With an independent board the expectation is that the authority will act more like FinCEN and start issuing serious fines which will make European banks sit up,” the Council source added.