It has been estimated that roughly 1.6 trillion USD in criminal proceeds are laundered through the international financial system each year. To put this in perspective, this sum is more than the combined GDPs of Switzerland, Portugal, Romania, Belarus, and Austria in 2011.
Anti-money laundering systems have the potential to curb the use of proceeds of corruption and other crimes by the perpetrators. An effectively implemented anti-money laundering framework limits the channels through which illicit funds can be laundered, making crime riskier and reducing the incentives for corrupt activities.
The art trade market is global, highly fragmented and complex, involving a great variety of operators. In light of this complexity, the current level of regulation and existing compliance efforts by individual operators has proven to be insufficient. With some competitors engaged in unethical or illegal behaviour, operating profitably while acting with integrity and ethics is increasingly difficult.
The transition process in many countries in Central and Eastern Europe from a one-party state to a democratic system has been long and difficult and has frequently been accompanied by institutional instability.
The judiciary and law enforcement bodies have been no exception. Both have suffered from a weak legal tradition in many countries of the region, weak implementation of existing legislation, limited operational effectiveness, corruption and the influence of informal personal networks. These developments can also be observed in the area of financial intelligence.
This paper examines how the Wolfsberg Anti-Money Laundering Principles came into being. It charts their subsequent development and also looks at what the Wolfsberg Group of banks may tackle in the future.
Switzerland is frequently accused of being reluctant to take thorough measures to fight money laundering. Both the Swiss authorities and the banks in Switzerland strongly reject such accusations. We are convinced that our anti-money laundering measures are best market practice.