Money Laundering on the Rise

The number of reported crimes in relation to money laundering rose sharply from last year, according to a report released by the financial investigations department of the Swedish National Police Force, this week. Investigators contribute the rise to better awareness and reporting, according to daily Svenska Dagbladet (SvD).The increase of reported suspicions of money laundering was as high as 116 percent compared to last year.

“This is a sign that the banks have implemented better routines and now obtained more intelligent detecting systems,” said Thomas Palmberg, who is vice chief of the finance police, to SvD. Palmberg was on vacation and could not comment on behalf of this report to Radio Sweden, his colleagues said Thursday.

Money laundering is a crucial step in order for criminals to gain profits from various crimes. Examples of what crimes investigators deem as most common and profit generating include, blackmail, armed robberies, human trafficking, illegal debt collection and dealing in illegal substances and narcotics, according to the report. It can either be done by the criminal by so-called self-laundry, or by the help of other physical or judicial individuals. The actual criminals seldom have much assets listed in their names, but use relatives or friends in their efforts to get their monies clean.

Preventing and stopping money laundering is a crucial element in efforts to combat international organized crime and terrorism, according to The Financial Action Task Force, or FAFT, an international organization.

Sweden ranks worst among the European countries in applying the 40 recommendations pertaining to money laundering, set forth by FAFT, according to a Web article at Deloitte, an international audit and revision, consultant firm. And, Swedish banks are also accepting many payments from foreign banks that aren’t meeting the standards or following those recommendations.

--By Majsan Boström

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