As a part of an investigation into the government’s anti-money laundering agency, the German prosecutors raided the finance and justice ministries. This has put a spotlight on Germany’s failings in tackling financial crime. Financial Intelligence Unit is an agency of the finance ministry which works under the Social Democrat chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz. The probe is making it to look whether it was told to ignore warnings of suspect payments to Africa.
The raids come at a pivotal moment for Scholz. After the raid, Scholz rebuffed criticism from lawmakers. But the episode casts a cloud, as it refocuses attention on the ministry he runs. The FIU and BaFin are the the financial regulators. They also answer to Scholz, and have been under scrutiny for failing to spot problems at payments firm Wirecard. Lawmaker Fabio De Masi said that this is a security risk for Germany, and they need financial police with criminal expertise. Because Germany is a paradise for criminals. In a campaign stop in Potsdam, Scholz said that he had had bolstered staff at the FIU agency. This is to almost 500 from 165 and invested heavily in better equipping it.
The country’s anti-money laundering efforts are under review. And so, the probe came up. The review is to be done by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which is a global body that groups countries from the United States to China. The FIU is struggling to keep up with the warnings they receive about suspected money transfers. A spokesman said that they launched the enquiry after receiving complaints about the FIU. It stated that they had not acted on millions of euros of suspect transactions, which includes Africa, between 2018 and 2020. They had searched the ministries to see whether the agency had been told to ignore the suspects.
Prosecutors said that the banks alerted the agency. This is because of the concerns to which the money was linked. They took note of the report but did not took it to any law enforcement agencies. The prosecutors said that they were also looking into the fact that since the FIU took over control of money laundering in 2017, reports of suspicious activity have dropped drastically. They also said that previous searches of the FIU reveals an extensive communication with the ministries.