Commissioners Frans Timmermans, Valdis Dombrovskis and Věra Jourová asked EU supervisory bodies to oversee national authorities’ work more closely “to ensure the correct application of EU law and supervisory convergence” by national supervisors, in a letter seen by Politico.
“There have been a number of high profile incidents in recent months involving European banks’ alleged involvement in money laundering activities, some of which have contributed to bank failures,” the letter said. “Failure to address shortcomings … can potentially have serious detrimental effects on the financial soundness of individual institutions,” Politico reported.
It was the American authorities that took action to arrest the owner of Pilatus Bank in Malta, Ali Sadr Hasheminejad, on charges of money laundering and evading US sanctions. The Chair of the Supervisory Board at the European Central Bank, Danièle Nouy, had said it was “embarrassing to depend on the United States to do the job”.
Commissioners argued in their letter that European action was needed. “These incidents also give rise to questions about the effectiveness of existing cooperation arrangements among the various competent authorities, and whether important information available to AML [anti-money laundering] supervisors is always shared in a timely manner.”
The European banking watchdog opened a probe into Pilatus Bank. According to the Guardian, the European Banking Authority is conducting “preliminary enquiries” into Pilatus Bank following requests by the European Commission and European Parliament.