Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations


Thursday, 26 March 2020

Transparency International raises concerns over EU anti-money laundering framework

Anti-corruption NGO Transparency International (TI) has raised concerns over the EU’s anti-money laundering framework after an internal investigation into compliance failings at Swedish bank Swedbank was made public. 

“Our governments need to demonstrate an ability to prosecute money launderers and to ensure that supervisors are held accountable for their action or inaction,” according to the 26 March joint statement from TI chapters in Sweden, Latvia and Lithuania. 

The investigation found that the bank processed almost $40 billion in suspicious transactions through its Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian branches between 2007 and 2019.

Sweden’s Financial Supervisory Authority fined Swedbank $380 million on 19 March for anti-money laundering failures at its Baltic subsidiaries.

Mexico president alleges corruption in $1.4 billion brewery project

Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has alleged irregularities in how US brewer Constellation Brands obtained water permits for a scuppered brewery project, according to reports.

López Obrador offered no evidence to substantiate his claims, but reportedly said the accusations were a matter of common sense.

“How can you give a permit for a brewery that consumes water [in an area] where there is a shortage of water,” he reportedly said.

The brewery was due to be built in the city of Mexicali but local residents voted down the proposed construction in a referendum held on 21 and 22 March.

Constallation Brands has not publicly responded to the claims.

Canada's Fintrac: prioritise suspicious transaction reports amid pandemic

Canada’s Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (Fintrac) has told companies to prioritise the filing of suspicious transaction reports if they face staff shortages due to the coronavirus. 

The country’s financial intelligence unit said in a statement on 25 March that companies are still expected to meet all of their reporting obligations but it “understands that some reporting entities may find themselves in a situation where they are required to reassign and reprioritize their internal resources in response to COVID-19”.

Canada’s money laundering and anti-terrorism funding laws require banks, brokerages, accountants, real estate agents and casinos to report to Fintrac.

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