A new study shows money laundering in Germany exceeds €100 billion each year – double the amount experts initially assumed.
The study that had been commissioned to the Halle-Wittenberg University by the German Finance Ministry also showed that the country appears to have become a magnet for criminals from further afield.
The “dark areas of the non-financial sector” mentioned in the study include transactions in property, cars and art works and are estimated to involve between 15,000 and 28,000 cases of money laundering each year – far more than are actually brought to court, reported Deutsche Welle.
“The total volume of money laundered in German financial and non-financial sectors appears to have surpassed €50 billion and has probably reached over €100 billion a year,” the report said.
The majority of this criminal activity comes to light during the sales of yachts and other expensive luxury items, such as rare watches.
The study adds that a lot of money is also laundered in the gambling and catering sector where special firms are set up to this end.
A large proportion of that money comes from abroad which is attributed to Germany’s attractive financial situation, the report added.
The German Finance Ministry had recently owned up to a lack of appropriate measures against money laundering on a regional level where state governments are in control of non-financial sectors.
Germany doesn’t have strict laws concerning the amount of cash foreigners can bring in and out. The government’s attempt to ratify a law that limits a single cash transaction to €5,000, failed in February after meeting public discontent, Russia Today reported.
Some Germans regarded the bill as an attempt by Berlin to get into their private affairs rather than tackle money laundering.
In March, the Wall Street Journal reported about a crime ring that managed to launder at least €5 million in Germany.
The ring earned the money by selling heroin in Spain, the Netherlands, Italy and the UK and laundered the money in Germany by buying expensive used cars and farm equipment and reselling it in the Middle East. This is possible, because unlike Italy, Spain and France, Germany doesn’t limit cash transactions, Russia Today added.