Neil Williams of financial crime solicitors Rahman Ravelli explains why the case has significance beyond Poland’s borders.
Polish prosecutors have started an investigation into suspected money laundering at a state-controlled bank.
The regional prosecutor’s office in Katowice has stated that the investigation into BOS Bank is due to “irregularities in connection with transactions carried out on bank accounts for selected foreign entities at one of the banks.”
In a statement, BOS Bank said that it complies with all anti-money laundering regulations and co-operates with authorities but would not comment further.
In a 2019 ranking of countries’ money laundering risk by the Basel Institute of Governance, Poland ranked at 102 out of 125; meaning it is one of the nations with the lowest risk.
Preventing money laundering has become an increasingly high priority in Europe; especially since the 2017 Danske Bank scandal that saw 200 billion euros flow through its tiny branch in Estonia. The European Union has been looking to improve scrutiny of the financial sector after a series of scandals that saw national regulators taking little or no action against banks that failed to prevent money laundering.
Given Poland’s relatively high standing in the money laundering table of countries, the news of an investigation into the activities at a Polish state-controlled bank highlights the need for vigilance in all nations. As regulatory controls are squeezed ever tighter across Europe and beyond, it is likely that we will see similar announcements in other states that have not previously been deemed a money laundering risk.