Germany’s new anti money laundering (AML) agency is being enlarged and reorganised just a year after its launch, according to the German business newspaper, Handelsblatt.

Germany is considered the fourth most vulnerable European country to money laundering, including trade based money laundering, after the UK, Belgium and France according to a European Union study commissioned after the release of the so-called Panama Papers.

Fresh start

The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has been promised a “fresh start in the fight against money laundering and terrorism finance” according to Germany’s finance minister Olaf Scholz.

The unit has suffered from under-staffing and poor equipment, leading to a massive backlog of uninvestigated cases. In May of this year, the FIU had processed just 31,000 of 58,000 tip offs reported since June 2017, according to Handelsblatt.

Additional staff

The unit is to see a more than threefold staff increase from 165 employees to 475.

The FIU has also been granted additional powers to access and share data as well as new authorities to stop suspect transactions.