An increasing number of European banks and their supervisory authorities are being drawn into money laundering allegations.According to the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) the latest allegations on ‘Troika Laundromat’
Combating money laundering is no longer a choice but a must for banks. But the effort that must go into fighting it is daunting. How can technology, especially artificial intelligence and machine learning, battle the costs and drains on monetary and human resources required for AML compliance, making the whole process a lot easier and more effective? Can AI be trusted to do the job right?
Rarely has a technology been met with the excitement and trepidation that AI has. Because artificial intelligence not only matches but can surpass human intelligence, it is exciting as a means to improve speed, save cost and maximize accuracy—but menacing for its potential to displace human workers. Banks are embracing AI for its staggering benefits, while also acknowledging that it creates a few wrinkles that need ironing out.
Banks are spending $20 billion on compliance in an effort to combat money laundering, yet only one per cent of illicit financial flows are seized by authorities every year. While regulations have been introduced to crack-down on money laundering, so far they have had a limited effect.
The banking industry in Ukraine has been beset by conditions so dire—from rampant fraud in its main banks, threats of war to foreign capital flight—that some thought it would never fully recover. Yet with help from international partners, the government, under the leadership of the National Bank of Ukraine, is making impressive strides toward putting its banking sector back on solid, fruitful ground.
It is fair to say that the banking sector in Latvia is now being closely scrutinised in a manner that it has not experienced in recent times. The latter half of February in particular witnessed a series of major incidents being reported that have severely dented confidence in the diminutive Baltic nation’s banking industry.
On November 15, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) held its annual general meeting (AGM), during which a small but notable protest vote emerged against the bank’s board appointments and executive remunerations.
Banks continue to unwittingly act as laundromats for dirty money, but hopefully never again on the same scale as the recent operation dubbed Laundromat, which saw billions of dollars pass from Russian sources through numerous banks around the world. Authorities are still working to unravel the tangled trail and uncover those who were complicit in carrying out the shockingly successful operation.
With the fourth EU Directive on Money Laundering coming into force in June this year and instances of financial crime becoming increasingly frequent, it is more crucial than ever for teams within Financial Institutions (FIs), as well as across the industry, to collaborate to tackle financial crime and fraud.
“The Malaysian people were defrauded on an enormous scale”, was the recent assertion by Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe in reference to an international banking scandal that has now rumbled on for over two years, and looks set to continue for some time.