John O’Donnell, 13 July 2019
Europe’s Baltic states are at risk from further Russian money laundering, a top European police official said after several big banks were hit by scandals centered on the region.
Pedro Felicio, who is responsible for fighting money laundering at European police agency Europol, told Reuters that “huge inflows of criminal money” are mainly coming into Europe from Russia and China.
Russian money is alleged to be at the heart of multi-billion dollar laundering rackets that engulfed Danske Bank, Denmark’s largest lender and Sweden’s Swedbank.
“There are billions of criminal money that are being taken out of the Russian economy,” Felicio said as he warned of the dangers of a repeat of scandals involving tainted Russian money in the Baltics, a bloc of three countries, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, which used to be ruled by Soviet Russia.
The high burden of proof in Europe coupled with “zero cooperation from Russia in providing … evidence” were exacerbating the problem, Felicio added.
Russia’s central bank, which has a hard line on money laundering in the past few years and shut dozens of banks it said were involved, did not respond to a request for comment.