EU Vows to Curb Dirty Money After Danske, Deutsche Bank Scandals

(Bloomberg) -- The European Union vowed to take further measures against money laundering, after a series of high-profile cases exposed gaps in the bloc’s supervisory framework.

EU finance ministers meeting in Brussels on Tuesday said the bloc’s executive arm may propose further actions to clamp down on dirty money by late next year, following a “post-mortem review of the recent alleged money laundering cases involving EU banks.” The ministers also promised to tighten cooperation between national supervisors in the bloc’s 27 members and boost the tools of European regulators, without elaborating on the specifics.

The call to action follows a raid at Deutsche Bank AG’s headquarters in Frankfurt in connection to a money laundering investigation, while Denmark’s biggest lender, Danske Bank A/S, is facing criminal charges on about $230 billion that flowed through its tiny Estonian unit. Earlier this year, one of the biggest banks in Latvia -- home of the EU’s financial services chief -- was closed after the U.S. accused it of assisting North Korea’s ballistic-missile program.

Tuesday’s vague promises are unlikely to reassure about the EU’s commitment to close loopholes allowing money-laundering operations to flourish. European Central Bank officials, including President Mario Draghi and chief supervisor Daniele Nouy, have complained that current rules don’t allow the bloc’s banking watchdog to monitor suspected criminal activities.

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