The Economic and Legal Effectiveness of the European Union’s Anti-Money Laundering Policy

The Economic and Legal Effectiveness of the European Union’s Anti-Money Laundering Policy

Brigitte Unger, Joras Ferwerda, Melissa van den Broek and Ioana Deleanu

Official government policies against money laundering in the EU have been in place for roughly 25 years, after much concerted effort and a great deal of time and money invested. This volume examines the anti-money laundering policy of the EU Member States in connection to the threat of money laundering they face.

Chapter 2: Threat of money laundering

Brigitte Unger and Joras Ferwerda

Subjects: economics and finance, economic crime and corruption, financial economics and regulation, money and banking, law - academic, corruption and economic crime, european law, finance and banking law


This chapter presents a Walker gravity model to calculate the amount of money laundering threat for 27 EU Member States. It is found that the threat of money laundering is greatest in the United Kingdom, Luxembourg and other west-European countries, as a result of their relatively sophisticated financial markets, their relatively high GDP per capita levels, their trade, as well as cultural links to a wide range of proceeds of crime-generating countries. The picture changes dramatically, however, when expressed as a percentage of each country's GDP. The threats can be very high - particularly for the smaller countries, such as Estonia, Latvia, Malta and Luxembourg. These countries are bordering or related to much larger countries that generate large amounts of money potentially available for laundering. They therefore face threats equivalent to a significant proportion of their total GDP, even - in those four countries - greater than their entire GDP. The threat assessment presented in this study, based on the Walker gravity model, appears to be quite robust.

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