Danes Outline New AML Strategy With Push For More Collaboration

July 12, 2022
The Danish government’s justice, business, and taxation departments have announced a new money laundering strategy for 2022-2025, aiming to move on from past scandals and criticism.

The Danish government’s justice, business, and taxation departments have announced a new money laundering strategy for 2022-2025, aiming to move on from past scandals and criticism.

There is still a need to strengthen the joint efforts of the authorities so that the criminals find it more challenging to utilise Danish society for money laundering and terrorist financing, Denmark’s government said as it set out its new plans to rein in white-collar crime.

“We can and must do more,” commented Mattias Tesfaye, the country’s justice minister. “Therefore, the new strategy is a real and important initiative that we can use in a common and more focused fight against organised crime and not least the people behind it.”

Now, government ministries have established a new strategy, including 21 objectives.

“Money laundering is cheating the community, and we will never accept that. With this strategy, we take action against the criminals who exploit the system for their own gain,” said Simon Kollerup, the country’s trade and industry minister.

The government will strengthen efforts at all levels, so that the criminals are hit where it hurts the most, he continued. “We will do this through strengthened control and cooperation both nationally and internationally. The strategy is visible proof that we are prepared to take all necessary steps toward strengthening the fight against economic crime.”

Denmark has been keen to improve its reputation for dealing with money laundering. It was criticised by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in 2017 for a lack of measures to deal with money laundering.

Scandals also engulfed Danske Bank in the years that followed, including the country’s regulator voting against EU-level investigations into its preventative measures.

The government’s new objectives include commitments for law agencies to be “better able to crack down” on financial crime, with the target of an increased focus on tracking and identifying the proceeds of crime and seizing them.

Collaboration and technology

In addition, the government has said it wants to foster more collaboration between the authorities and private sector, including by opening up new data access between the two.

This has recently been a goal at EU level, as well as in member states such as Lithuania, which established the public-private AML Centre of Excellence in 2020.

Digitisation, including data sharing, is a priority in better dealing with financial crime, the Danish government said.

“Criminals' use of digital and technological solutions and the generally increasing amount of data in society underline the need to think in new technological solutions,” the strategy suggests.

“Through targeted sharing and use of data and technology, both authorities and private actors can become better at finding patterns and relationships in large amounts of data and thus identify criminal actors better and more efficiently,” the strategy says.

“New technology for advanced data analysis also makes it possible to quickly examine the behaviour of a large number of companies, compile data and find patterns that suggest criminal behaviour.”

This is something that has been generally welcomed by the country’s banking lobby group, Finans Danmark. However, its praise also came with a caveat, saying that it is “anxiously awaiting a little more clarity in relation to when and how the financial sector is included in the operationalisation of the objectives.”

Finans Danmark also welcomed the need for better collaboration between different entities, yet warned that for cooperation to be truly effective, it requires an increased opportunity for data sharing between banks and between banks and authorities.

Increased data sharing across banks and authorities is a cornerstone of an effective effort against economic crime, according to the trade association.

Banks must be able to cooperate widely and share information on suspicious networks of transactions between the banks involved.

“Among other things, it will enable banks to detect networks of criminal transactions, and it will make it more difficult for the more professional criminals to use the financial system to spread their activities across several banks and national borders to obscure their criminal activities,” said Kjeld Gosvig-Jensen, legal director at Finans Danmark.

Another objective suggests that it is not just public-private sector cooperation that needs to improve but also between government departments themselves.

“The new national strategy and the close cooperation between ministries and authorities will further strengthen and focus that work, and therefore we, on the part of the government, are very pleased with the initiative,” said Jeppe Bruus, the country’s minister for taxation.

In addition, the strategy suggests that there needs to be more knowledge and training among the public authorities.

Objective 16, for example, calls for better expertise in Denmark’s lower courts.

The strategy also mentions work that the Nordic country is doing at the international level.

For example, the government has suggested more collaboration between authorities via FATF and has outlined its priorities in the EU’s latest AML package.

The Danish government has said its negotiating stance when it comes to the European Council will focus on international cooperation, as well as better use of digital tools by authorities in the trading bloc.

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