European Union Justice Commissioner Věra Jourová has called for more action to fight money laundering.
“It is no longer just about the financial sector, but about the security of the EU,” she told the German newspaper Handelsblatt.
As reported by the newspaper, Jourová warned that EU states, regulators and banks need to do “more than before against money laundering”. The scandals at the Dutch bank ING, Danske Bank or two Latvian banks have seriously damaged the reputation of the respective banks and the financial sector of the affected countries. “This is a warning to everyone else”.
“The responsibility lies with the member states alone. You have to apply the anti-money laundering regulations of the EU correctly, which unfortunately has not always happened in the past. That is why I have now proposed that the EU banking supervisory authority should have more powers.”
Jourová also praised the decision of Germany’s Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) to install a special representative for the fight against money laundering at Deutsche Bank. “That’s the proactive approach that I think is right,” she said.
Asked about the so-called golden visa schemes, the Commissioner said selling citizenship to wealthy foreign investors may be a gateway for dirty money.
“We are working on recommendations for the sale of citizenships, which we plan to present by the end of the year. If a country wants to operate such a scheme, we cannot forbid it. But we will recommend that states tighten the rules and look more closely at who they give citizenship to.
“I personally have some problem with this practice,” she added. “Many people who work hard in another country, learn the language and raise children often have great difficulty getting citizenship. In some Member States, on the other hand, it is enough to be rich and to put two million euros on the table. That’s not fair.”