On October 5, Hudson Institute’s Kleptocracy Initiative hosted Ilze Znotina, Head of Latvia’s Financial Intelligence Unit, for a keynote speech on recent efforts to strengthen her country’s anti-money laundering regime. Her remarks will be followed by an expert panel discussion on safeguarding the European banking system against illicit financial flows from Russia and the former Soviet Union.
A spate of recent investigations across the globe highlights the alarming proliferation of financial corruption. Latvia’s ABLV Bank recently collapsed amid U.S. accusations of facilitating Russian money laundering, sanctions evasion, and bribing public officials. Latvia moved swiftly to address weaknesses in financial sector oversight, but the episode illustrates a wider vulnerability to the corrosive effects of illicit finance within the European banking sector.
In the past month alone, Denmark’s Danske Bank has been placed under investigation after $234 billion in potentially suspicious transactions passed through its tiny Estonian branch; the Netherlands’ ING agreed to pay $900 million for failing to prevent money laundering through its accounts; and Switzerland’s Credit Suisse was formally reprimanded over anti-corruption failures.
The event was co-sponsored by the German Marshall Fund’s Alliance for Securing Democracy.