(Bloomberg) -- The European Union needs to step up efforts to combat money-laundering as more cases within the banking industry are expected to pop up, according to Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra.
“Those who think that this problem is mostly a problem that is linked to some of the banks in some of the countries are up for a rude awakening,” Hoekstra said in an interview in Brussels on Thursday. “It truly is D-Day for the fight against money laundering.”
Hoekstra is among finance chiefs calling on the EU’s executive arm to look at setting up a common institution to fight illicit financial flows, triggered by high-profile scandals in several European countries, including at Dutch lender ING Groep NV. EU finance ministers meeting in Brussels on Thursday are expected to endorse the creation of a regional agency to prevent such crimes.
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“My view is we have only started to see the beginning and every single case that I have seen of money laundering has an international dimension to it,” Hoekstra said.
“It is time and it is highly necessary to fight back at a much more sophisticated and thorough level,” according to the Dutch official, making the case for banks, national and European governments to do more in tackling what he called “a huge” issue.
--With assistance from Alexander Weber.
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