Sharp hike in Swedish money laundering cases

Sharp hike in Swedish money laundering cases
The number of money laundering cases reported in Sweden more than doubled last year, a new report shows.

According to figures from Sweden’s Financial Police (Finanspolisen), a division of the National Criminal Police’s intelligence division, there were 13,048 cases of suspected money laundering covering a total of 9 billion kronor ($1.2 billion) in 2008.

The figure represents an increase of 116 percent from the year before.

Reports filed by banks also increased from 1,310 cases in 2007 to 7,232 last year.

“It’s an indication that the banks have implemented better procedures and have also built intelligent detection systems,” said Thomas Palmberg, vice head of the Financial Police, to the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

According to Palmberg, financial intermediaries have also stepped up their reporting of suspected crimes. It’s also easier for police to uncover suspicious transactions on the internet sooner than previously.

However, companies in cash-intensive industries such as auto dealerships, real estate brokerages, and casinos, continue to be less forthcoming with reports of suspected money laundering.

“Of course people try to minimize the use of case in many areas which reduces the risk for both money laundering and robberies. But I’m sure there are considerably more cases of money laundering in cash-intensive industries than what is reported,” said Palmberg.

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