Study finds connection between corruption and money laundering in Nordic countries

Publication date 7.6.2021 16.12
News item

Operators based in the Nordic countries can be taken advantage of in money laundering related to corruption, even though open corruption, such as bribery, is relatively rare in the Nordic countries.

A recent study by the Police University College sheds light on the links between corruption and money laundering in the Nordic countries. A project funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers and commissioned by the Minister of Justice has specifically examined corruption in international business. According to the study, bribes given in connection with international business can be disguised, for example, by using consultants or complex business structures. 

‒ In the Nordic countries, cases have been reported where operators in the ICT field, logistics, defence industry and financial sector have been taken advantage of as intermediaries for corrupt funds. The international dimension makes investigating cases challenging. So far, there have been relatively few judgments on bribery in international business or money laundering of corrupt funds, says researcher Saana Rikkilä. 

The report included a literature review, a statistical review and a survey to Nordic Financial Intelligence Units. The survey looked at respondents' views on the links between phenomena and gathered experience in cases where the funds as the object of suspected money laundering might come from corrupt activities. The study showed that the operators with a duty to report mentioned in the Anti-Money Laundering Act play a key role in identifying corruption, but it is difficult to identify and determine corruption. 

The fight against corruption requires cooperation

The project will continue this year with the KORPEN 2 (Korruption i samband med näringsverksamhet i Norden) project at the Police University College, which will examine the practices of public authorities and the operators with a duty to report according to the Anti-Money Laundering Act in identifying corruption. The project will focus in particular on cross-border bribery and money laundering of these funds. 

The diversity and complexity of corruption make the fight against corruption difficult. The evaluations on the effectiveness of the fight against corruption have focused attention on monitoring subcontracting arrangements and on protecting informers in the Nordic countries. Cross-cutting cooperation and education are important in the fight against corruption. 

‒ The aim of the new project is, among other things, to bring together good practices and to innovate possible new indicators to improve the fight against corruption. We are also working to develop and strengthen cooperation in the Nordic countries, says Project Manager Pirjo Jukarainen.

The follow-up project ordered by the Ministry of Justice and funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers ends in January 2022.