Transitioning from its mythical origins to its present-day European Union membership, Greece is actively driving formidable initiatives to combat financial crimes. The impact of its regulatory measures and the relationship between traditional values and innovative strategies in safeguarding financial integrity is of utmost importance in the ongoing struggle against money laundering and illicit financial actions. Like many countries, Greece is keen on keeping a tight grip on AML compliance.
The Progress of AML
Greece started fighting financial crimes in the 1990s with the enactment of its first AML laws and regulations. By being a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the European Union (EU), Greece ensures that the optimal amount of collaboration is being met while establishing its AML laws.
While establishing its own legislature over AML compliance, Greece also adopted the EU’s Directive 91/308/EEC in 1991. Greece's stance on this directive further emphasized its commitment to international collaboration and shared goals.
With the implementation of the Unfair Competition Prevention Law in 1995, Greek legislation has started upholding certain standards in the fight against fraud. The definitions were widened with the enactment of the Law on Prevention and Suppression of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing and Other Provisions in 2008.
To easily incorporate the EU’s AML directives, Greece enacted the Law on Prevention and Suppression of the Legalisation of Proceeds of Crime and Terrorist Financing and Other Provisions in 2018, which effectively helped the adoption of the EU’s 5th AML Directive in 2020 with the adoption of Law 4734/2020. Greece continues the notion of international collaboration with the amendments to its penal code.
According to the FATF’s Mutual Evaluation Report in 2019, Greece was largely in line with the FATF’s 40 Recommendations, being compliant in 15 and largely compliant in 22 of the 40 Recommendations. The Greek legislation on AML continues to be evaluated at the EU and national levels.
The Financial Regulators
The Bank of Greece was founded in 1927 to protect and stabilize the banking sector. The bank is the legal regulator and supervisor for preventing money laundering and terrorist financing in Greece. The Bank of Greece checks whether financial institutions meet their AML and CFT obligations. The bank imposes various sanctions and penalties on financial institutions that do not meet AML requirements.
Together with the Bank of Greece, Greece's AML framework is fulfilled by the Hellenic Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). Functioning as the primary entity tasked with receiving, examining, and circulating reports regarding suspicious transactions, the FIU plays a crucial part in the detection of potential instances of money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
Bribery and Corruption’s Impact
Corruption and bribery are weakening the financial world every day. They undermine the competitiveness of a country such as Greece. The Greek Penal Code considers bribery and corruption as crimes. Those who commit these crimes are to be sentenced by the Greek Justice. According to AML laws in Greece, financial institutions must check their customers on politically exposed persons (PEPs) lists. Since PEPs have a high risk, their transactions should be checked, and suspicious transactions should be reported to the authorities.
AML Requirements and Their Scope
Greece manages a solid AML framework in line with the international collaboration with the EU and the FATF. To that end, Greece’s AML Program includes obligations such as:
- Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures
- Customer Due Diligence (CDD) procedures
- Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) procedures
- Keeping customer information and transactions recorded.
- Training of employees in the field of AML compliance.
All risk-bearing companies have to meet these obligations in order to comply with AML regulations. These companies include:
- Insurance Companies
- Leasing Companies
- Factoring Companies
- Credit Management Companies
- Electronic Money Institutions
- Payment Institutions
- Postal Companies
- Fund Management Companies
- Investment Companies
- Stock Brokerage Firms
- Venture Capital Firms
- Real Estate Investment Companies
Penalties for Money Laundering
Penalties for money laundering crimes depend on the type of crime and various circumstances. People who commit money laundering offenses are imprisoned and fined by Greece. Administrations can be given penalties in the form of fines up to €10 million, not to mention the loss of approval for certain activities, or even complete suspension.
Since the Greek criminal code is harsh on this issue, companies should regularly perform AML checks and should not allow financial crimes. In addition, the fact that companies are on the agenda with such crimes also leads to a loss of reputation.
AML Solutions for Greece
Through numerous cutting-edge technologies, Sanction Scanner provides anti-money laundering solutions that help companies meet AML requirements. Companies operating in Greece under AML compliance liability can quickly and easily fulfill their AML needs with the solutions of Sanction Scanner. Through our website, you can easily contact us or request a demo and ensure a route to well-earned success for your company.