Hansson on money laundering scandal: Estonian authorities were on top of their game

  • 2019-05-18
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – The Estonian authorities have been on top of their game when it comes to work to hinder money laundering, outgoing governor of the Bank of Estonia, Ardo Hansson, said at the Lennart Meri Conference in Tallinn on Saturday.

"Our authorities were on top of their game," the central bank governor said, noting that the role of the Financial Supervision Authority (FSA) was important in closing down the activity of Danske Bank. He highlighted that the FSA has also closed down a bank with Ukrainian majority holding [Versobank - BNS] and issued injunctions to credit institutions with majority holdings by Bank of Moscow.

Hansson admitted that money laundering is a global problem as well as a pan-European problem, which is why it is not only the transit points through which the sums move that have to be analyzed but also where it comes from and where it goes to. "A holistic view is important," he said.

The central bank governor highlighted that while the issue of dirty money was once foremost the issue of law enforcement authorities, it is now increasingly becoming the domain of supervisory authorities. He highlighted a parallel with car owners who, on one hand, must go to technical checks where they receive confirmation that everything is in order and they are good to go. And then there is the police who check where you are speeding or drunk driving. Thus, the system has two levels.

Hansson noted that the world has changed and the issues of avoiding sanctions and terrorist financing have become important. The risks are greater and the so-called good guys have to start raising their game and taking issues more seriously, the central bank governor said.