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Belgium launches anti-money laundering initiative

© Belga

A consultation platform to fight money laundering was officially launched on Friday, the Belgian financial sector federation Febelfin announced.

The platform brings together various public and private partners to combat financial crime.

The aim is to exchange information and expertise on developments, trends and new risks related to money laundering.

They’ll also propose guidelines and provide feedback on the application of legal obligations.

“The fight against financial crime, just like the fight against tax and social fraud, requires cooperation in which the public services concerned and representatives of the financial sector pool their knowledge and skills,” said Finance Minister Vincent Van Peteghem (CD&V).

Among the initiative’s partners are Assuralia (the Professional Association of Insurance Companies for Belgium), the Financial Intelligence Processing Unit (CTIF, which handles financial crimes like money laundering and the financing of terrorism), the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) and the National Bank of Belgium (NBB).

Febelfin has been calling for closer cooperation between the financial sector and the public authorities when it comes to money laundering ever since the “FinCEN Files” investigation by BuzzFeed News and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) last year, which revealed that banks have allowed some 2,000 billion dollars of dirty money to travel the world.

In the UK, targeted collaboration between banks, prosecutors, the supervisory authority and law enforcement agencies has resulted in the seizure of more than £56 million (€65.3 million) and the detection of 5,000 suspicious accounts, according to Febelfin, which wants to mimic this collaboration in Belgium.

In 2020, banks reported 17,678 suspicious transactions to Belgium’s CTIF, which represented 55% of money laundering cases transmitted to the judicial authorities.

The Brussels Times