European banks should act with more transparency to help the fight against money laundering and tackling organised crime assets, said Members of the special committee on organised crime who stressed the importance of breaking the “wall of connivances” that seldom protects mafias. They also called for a stronger international cooperation against organised crime among member States and with third countries.
“We need more transparency on financial transactions, on the last shareholders real identity, on small and great enterprises, on dummy corporations”, said committee chair Sonia Alfano (ALDE, IT). MEPs analysed three working papers and agreed that European banks should guarantee more transparency and do more against tax evasion.
Rui Tavares (Greens/EFA, PT) gave some possible solutions. Among them, a common legal shareholder register, a beneficial owner registry, a European Financial Intelligence Unit (EFIU). “It is the right time to draft this legislation, EU citizens call us to do it. We can even go further on the directive about money laundering, sustaining investigative journalism”, he said.
Reinforcing EU weapons against mafias
“Our main aim is to draft a coherent legislative framework. We have to strengthen counter-actions and therefore surveillance, also tackling self-laundering”, said Salvatore Iacolino (EPP, IT), who is presenting a first set of proposals on 18 March.
Some speakers also stressed that EU legislation to fight money laundering should take into account two main issues: banks’ lack of cooperation and legal professionals’ collusion.
“The gap between money laundering and juridical achievements: they are not satisfying because a wall of silence and connivances hinders deeper inspections”, said Mario Borghezio (EFD, IT).
Véronique Mathieu (EPP, FR) and Salvatore Caronna (S&D, IT) proposed to “polish” the professional orders of lawyers and accountants, prosecuting those who help organised crime.
During a two-day hearing, MEPs debated about the international cooperation, use of intelligence and links with terrorism with several experts. During the hearing, Myria Vassiliadou, EU anti-trafficking coordinator, explained the future steps of the fight against trafficking in human beings, calling for a strong political action based on the existing policies and tools.
Special committee on organised crime, corruption and money laundering
In the chair: Sonia Alfano (ALDE, IT)
Procedure: public hearing
Working document on money laundering by Salvatore Iacolino (EPP, IT)
Thematic paper on money laundering, banks and finance by Mario Borghezio (EFD, IT)
Thematic paper on relationship between money laundering, tax evasion and tax havens by Rui Tavares (Greens/EFA, PT)