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Faculty of Law (Faculteitskamer - A1.01). Title: “Policing the money: Banks and AML-Compliance".

Event details of ACLE Compliance and Enforcement Seminar: Antoinette Verhage (Universiteit Gent)
Date 11 March 2013
Time 11:45 -13:15
Location Oudemanhuispoort
Room Faculty of Law: Oudemanhuispoort - Faculteitskamer A1.01

Introduction to the seminar

The role of banks in anti money laundering (AML), although inevitable in the battle against this type of crime because of their central and crucial position in financial markets, has taken the shape of an encompassing and above all very intrusive system. Surprisingly, criminology has given relatively little attention to this system since its emergence in the late eighties. This is remarkable, not only because of the crime fighting objective of AML, but also for its invasion in personal spheres and the subsequent privacy issues that arise from it. The AML system is activated whenever a bank transaction is carried out, cash is deposited or bills are paid through online banking, while most clients are unaware of it. In the past ten years, the investment of the financial sector in the prevention of money laundering has been increasing rapidly. In Belgium, the compliance officer represents the gatekeeper of the AML chain, and is responsible for the implementation of AML legislation and reporting of potentially suspicious transactions. As such he or she symbolizes a part of this private investment in anti money laundering. As a bank employee, responsible for the implementation of governmental objectives, the compliance officer often finds himself trapped between crime fighting objectives and commercial goals. The duality of the involvement of private partners in the AML complex and the vastness of the system induces a closer look at the functioning, values and perceptions of actors within this system. This was the starting point of Mrs. Verhage’s PhD-study in 2006. In this presentation, the results of this empirical research will be presented and some insights will be given in review of the Belgian AML system.

About the Speaker

Antoinette Verhage (PhD) is post-doctoral researcher at Ghent University (Belgium) and director of the Research Institute for Urban Security & Policing Studies (SVA – see She has over 10 years of experience in criminological research. She holds a PhD in Criminology. In her PhD, she studied compliance and anti-money laundering by financial institutions (Routledge, 2011). Apart from guiding research on policing, radicalisation and the informal economy, she works on her own post-doctoral study regarding the development of a systematic review for a number of policing issues (2012-2015). She teaches at Ghent University in the field of qualitative research methods. She is also active as Editor in Chief of the European Journal of Policing Studies (Maklu Publishers), of which the first issue will be launched in the fall of 2013.


Room Faculty of Law: Oudemanhuispoort - Faculteitskamer A1.01

Oudemanhuispoort 4-6
1012 CN Amsterdam