A cash cap is the wrong way to fight money laundering

Action against money laundering

An activist from the Finanzwende citizens’ movement protested in front of the Treasury Ministry in August demanding stronger crackdowns on financial crime.

(Photo: dpa)

If the Interior Minister has her way, Germany will soon introduce an upper limit for cash payments. Nancy Faeser is not alone in her demand for a cash limit of 10,000 euros. The EU Commission made this proposal last year as part of a package of measures against money laundering. The Germans and cash – that has always been a difficult topic. Is it worth having this debate, especially since the benefit of a cash limit is questionable?

Because there will always be loopholes – also in other countries. It therefore only helps to a limited extent if holes are closed in Germany alone. And even if there were a uniform European solution, criminals could still avoid it.

Above all, there are much more modern alternatives that money launderers can use. Criminals no longer need cash to do business. Digital currencies such as bitcoins are playing an increasingly important role in organized crime when it comes to concealing the origin of assets.

The state should therefore not fight over cash, but concentrate on the crypto sector. According to the federal government, suspected cases of money laundering with cryptocurrencies have increased tenfold since 2018. This shows the challenge that the authorities have to deal with.

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However, it takes a lot of expertise to track down technically adept criminals. The Minister of the Interior has to be credited for the fact that her strategy for combating organized crime also starts here.

One could also say: It is high time to finally seize the initiative. In any case, Faeser’s plan to set up an expert network for “money laundering crypto assets” at the Federal Criminal Police Office doesn’t sound wrong.

More: Interior Minister Faeser wants to be able to freeze assets as a preventive measure

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