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Money laundering on the rise in Sweden

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Money laundering on the rise in Sweden
10:52 CEST+02:00
Police statistics reveal a 30 percent increase in the number of reported cases of money laundering in Sweden for 2010, prompting calls for the creation of a new agency to combat the problem.

According to figures from the financial crimes police (Finanspolisen), the number of reported money laundering cases in Sweden increased by 3,000 to a total of 12,000 reported cases in 2010, the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper reports.

Sweden has been criticised for not doing enough to combat this type of crimes and now the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brottsförebyggande rådet - Brå) is suggesting the creation a national financial intelligence centre to be shared by Swedish Police, Customs, Tax agency and Economic Crime Authority (Ekobrottsmyndigheten).

“This way we can free up resources, make use of each of the authorities' expertise and increase the quality of operative intelligence,” Daniel Vesterhav, researcher at the crime prevention council, told SvD.

The report also shows that out of the 14,500 companies in Sweden obliged by law to report possible money laundering crimes within their own organisation, 90 percent of reports come from banks, foreign exchange companies and other money handling businesses.

But the number of unreported cases is believed to be large. Some businesses that the crime prevention council considers to be specifically targeted did not report a single case of suspected money laundering in 2010.

Last year, six out of a thousand car dealers, eight out of 6,100 real estate agents, and five out of 4,117 private accountants filed a money laundering report to the council.

Not one single tax adviser out of Sweden's 159 obliged to report potential money laundering crimes to police filed a report last year.

According to the crime prevention council, this is likely because companies are reluctant to file a report based on suspicions or simply don't understand what it is that the financial unit of the police is interested in.

“Many companies are worried that they may be threatened if it is known that they have reported a potential case," Vesterhav told SvD.

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