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Swedish, Baltic regulators call for pan-European financial crime watchdog

Financial regulators from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Sweden are calling for a "pan-European financial crime investigation authority" following a series of money laundering scandals that rocked the region and spurred critics to levy blame on the watchdogs, the Financial Times reported.

The watchdogs say that responsibility does not lie solely with them since national law enforcement authorities review the actual transactions while the regulators only look at anti-money laundering processes and procedures, the report said.

Cross-border cooperation between law authorities is patchy, according to the FT. Kivlar Kessler, head of the Estonian financial regulator, said there are questions on whether law enforcement cooperates enough or shares information quickly enough.

Peters Putnins, the head of Latvia's financial and capital markets commission, said: "There should eventually be a European solution for the combating of anti-money laundering with an international body to coordinate the [financial investigation units]. It's the only way that we can get a harmonized regime for [anti-money laundering] in European countries."