Syedur Rahman of financial crime specialists Rahman Ravelli considers the reasons for it.

European Union finance ministers have agreed to create an EU body that will tackle money laundering across all of its member nations.

The agreement supports a European Commission proposal that was originally made in May this year. The Council of Finance ministers also gave their backing to plans for the Commission to harmonise EU anti-money laundering rules and give the Financial Intelligence Units of EU countries support and help coordinating efforts to tackle the problem.

The Commission is to present legal proposals to turn that agreement into reality in the early months of next year.

Announcement of an EU-wide AML body that has oversight across jurisdictions should not be considered a huge surprise. This is an idea that the EU has been suggesting - and gradually building towards - for quite some time.

With the EU's 5th Money Laundering Directive having come into effect in January this year, the new authority will have the task of ensuring compliance by member states. It may potentially have the power to intervene if there are consistent failings by an EU member.

The fallout from incidents such as Danske Bank's activities in Estonia - where approximately 200 billion euros' worth of suspicious transactions flowed through one small branch of the bank - still resonates loudly. The EU is especially eager to avoid similar scandals in the future. By harmonising the anti-money laundering approach across the bloc, it is hoped that such large and high-profile failings will be consigned to history.

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