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NEWS: EU must do more to battle ‘faceless’ criminals, Eurogroup President Paschal Donohoe tells Anti-Financial Crime Summit 2024

ADDRESS: Eurogroup President Paschal Donohoe TD officially opening 'European Anti-Financial Crime Summit 2024' in Dublin on Thursday. PHOTO: Mark Condren

By Laura Lynott, Senior Correspondent 

EUROGROUP President Paschal Donohoe opened the ‘European Anti-Financial Crime Summit 2024’ (EAFCS) stating Europe “needs to do more” to win the battle against “faceless” criminals.

Mr Donohoe said while he was “positive” about the future, he’d listened to perspectives from a recent Eurogroup meeting advising more work had to be done to protect business and society.

Minister Donohoe said the “message” the prestigious financial collective had given him, was that more protections had to be installed, as the global banking sector in Europe is facing increasing “challenges” 

The Minister underlined the harm criminal gangs are doing and how victims felt a sense of “powerlessness”.  Yet, those who’d perpetrated such crimes were “faceless”.

He welcomed the establishment of AMLA and hoped that a collaboration between Europe and the global financial and security sector, would help the international sector combat financial crime.

Minister Donohue added that it was vital that “everyone’s ultimate focus” is on “how we can detect and prevent financial crime”.

“We are combating criminals and organisations that know no borders,” Minister Donohoe said.

However, he felt the European Union was “at its best” when working together to fight criminals.

Such “harmonisation” and “coordination” would “reduce the ability of criminals and criminal organisations to exploit regulatory differences.” I 

But Europe had to “keep up” with “evolving technologies” and work that would be applied to crypto assets service providers.

There was a necessity to “have a regulatory environment” that stood up to the growing challenges, the minister said. And AMLA is a vital key to solving such issues, he added.

“I want to congratulate German colleagues and friends for their successful campaign to make Frankfurt their new home,” he said.

AMLA is “very important” in the changing landscape and this is why Ireland and other European countries had put forward bids for the authority.

Minister Donohoe also paid tribute to women in AML and those female leaders who participated in the Summit’s Women In FinCrime Breakfast, Seana Cunningham, Director of Enforcement and Anti-Money Laundering, at the Central Bank of Ireland, Chairman Simmons, a Financial Crime and Compliance Expert from SymphonyAI, Raluca Pruna, Head of Financial Crime Unit, DC FISMA, at the European Commission, and Annika Agemans, Senior Legal Advisor a the Federal Public Service Finance Treasury.

And he congratulated the new Financial Action Task Force (FATF) President, Elise de Anda Madrazo, from Mexico.

The promotion of a woman to one of the highest financial ranks in the world had highlighted “the impact that women are now leading our efforts in combating financial crime,” he added.

Artificial Intelligence was also a vital issue, Minister Donohoe stated.  While he’s “positive” about its future uses, and how the powerful tech could be adopted to monitor transactions, and read “vast amounts of data,” to help “identify the kinds of patterns that will indicate financial crime taking place”.

Thus it was “important to acknowledge” new anti-money laundering regulation and recognise AI and the “new tools” it would introduce to the field.

He added, however, that he wanted to “make clear that human intervention and oversight” would be “needed to ensure” the tools were used in the appropriate way.

He ended his keynote address by adding that fraud was a key concern for him and that he’d indeed been struck by the number of his constituents in Dublin, who’d been “targets” and were “targeted” by online fraudsters.

“I welcome new initiatives that are taking place to share fraud databases” and he acknowledged the work “that our state agencies do” in this regard, including the “hugely important” work of the Central Bank of Ireland. 

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