Sweden could improve its anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) systems through better inter-organisational co-ordination according to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

This could be one reason why the Scandinavian country appears not to have a strong focus on trade-based financial crime.

Low crime environment

A Mutual Evaluation Report on Sweden published this month by the FATF reviews the level of effectiveness of Sweden’s AML/CFT regime as well as its level of technical compliance with the task force’s recommendations.

Sweden is generally perceived as a low crime country, but it does face money laundering risks given its role as a regional financial centre and criminality in the tax system.

According to the FATF report, while the Swedish authorities have a reasonable understanding of these risks, the lack of a national AML/CFT co-ordination mechanism means that different authorities do not share the same understanding of the risks, or respond to them in a co-ordinated way.

Trade-based crime

This may be particularly relevant in terms of trade-based financial crime, which can often be more effectively tackled when there is co-ordination between organisations – between banks, transport and logistics firms and customs officials for example.

This may be one reason why, according to the FATF’s report on Sweden, out of 129 asset seizures in AML/CFT cases between July 2014 and May 2016, only one was connected with trade-based financial crime.

The FATF Mutual Evaluation Report on Sweden can be found here.