Share this article with your network
Help your network to discover new knowledge
The Money Laundering Act (GWG) not only obliges banks, financial service providers, lawyers, notaries, auditors, tax consultants, casinos and real estate agents to implement it. Goods dealers must also take measures to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing. What you should definitely pay attention to now.
Money laundering is a billion-euro business: according to estimations by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), it accounts for between two and five per cent of global GDP1. This corresponds to a value of between 800 billion and 2 trillion US dollars every year. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that the annual volume of global money laundering is as high as 4 trillion dollars.
However, anyone who believes that tax havens such as Panama or Switzerland are solely responsible for this is on the wrong track. Germany is also a real paradise for money laundering: a study on unreported crime revealed that illegally acquired funds totaling around 100 billion euros are converted into officially registered currency there every year. In the pandemic year of 2020, the anti-money laundering unit of the German Central Customs Authority also received a record number of suspect notifications. According to the Central Customs Authority, the total number of reports submitted to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) rose by around one-quarter to approximately 144,000.
The German Federal Court of Auditors (Bundesrechnungshof) believes that Germany is primarily an attractive destination for money launderers because the statutory requirements for combating money laundering are not sufficiently met there. And the situation is not much better in other European countries – in Austria, for example, the number of suspect notifications hit a new record in 2019. Just under seven million euros were seized due to suspect notifications or in connection with crimes relating to money laundering.
The other EU member states are also having a difficult time in the fight against dirty financial transactions. Partly because of this, in the summer of 2021 the European Court of Auditors once again criticised the lack of a uniform strategy for preventing and combating money laundering and terrorist financing. In order to improve this, the European Union (EU) has passed a series of new money laundering regulations over the last few years. As such, the 6th EU Anti Money Laundering Directive (AMLD) entered into force in the EU member states in December 2020, with the objective of intensifying the focus of law enforcement authorities on money laundering.