Around 100 billion euros, or $113 billion, is laundered in Germany every year, according to a report released by the Finance Ministry. These illegal, often cash, transactions take place on the housing market, the art market and elsewhere and represent more than double the 50 billion euro, or approximately $56.6 billion, in money laundering previously estimated by the German government, the Local reported Thursday.
"Germany is one of the best countries for laundering money. We’re financing criminality here," Kai Bussmann, head of the Economy and Crime Research Center at the University of Halle, said in March. Bussmann spoke to the Wall Street Journal following the dismantling of an international crime ring that had laundered at least 5 million euros, or $5.7 million, out of Germany.
Loose laws concerning the amount of cash people can bring in and out of the country have made it an easy locale for money laundering, some authorities have argued. The German government's attempt to fight organized crime and put a 5,000 euro, or $5661.50, limit on the amount of cash someone can pay in a single transaction failed in February with citizens arguing that it was an over-step of government power.
Germany, France call for global list of tax havens to counter 'tax evasion and money laundering' https://t.co/6PWieWfKty
— The NHA Party (@NHAparty) April 13, 2016
Germany is not the only European country that has seen a growing problem of money laundering in recent years. The U.K. announced Thursday that it would take on new measures to fight money laundering, particularly among its elected officials.
"The laundering of proceeds of crime through U.K. institutions is not only a financial crime, it fuels political instability around the world, supports terrorists and extremism and poses a direct and immediate threat to our domestic security and our overseas interests," U.K. Home Secretary Theresa May said, adding, “We will act vigorously against the criminals and terrorists responsible, to protect the security and prosperity of our citizens, and safeguard the integrity of Britain's financial economy."