Luxembourg watchdog freezes €87m in anti-money laundering push

Pedro Gonçalves
Luxembourg watchdog freezes €87m in anti-money laundering push

Luxembourg's financial crime agency froze €87m worth of assets with links to money laundering in 2018, seven times as much as the previous year.

Luxembourg's Cellule de Renseignement Financier (CRF) is stepping up its fight against money laundering before it faces an international inspection next year. 

Most of the €87m worth of assets frozen by the regulator had ties to corruption, according to the CRF report, as the LuxTimes reports.

In 2017, the financial crime agency had frozen €12.5m. In just one year the CRF got €75m more worth of transactions blocked. A hike that could be explained by the 44% jump in the number of complaints and alerts that reached the regulator from people inside the financial sector, including whistleblowers and even stories in the press.

A total of 55,948 instances of suspicious activity and questionable transactions were reported to the agency.

The growth of e-commerce companies headquartered in Luxembourg and the "Laundromat" cases - involving an extensive network of shell companies operating between Russia and European banks - have also kept the agency busier than ever before, according to the report.

FATF, the global anti-money laundering police force of the OECD will for the first time investigate the effectiveness of Luxembourg's regulatory regime, including enforcement.


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