This project studies how the roles of European lawyers as guardians of the rule of law are being renegotiated and redefined under increasing pressure to act as ‘police’ or agents of the state in combating the crimes of money laundering and terrorism financing. We analyse how this process of securitization with recourse to private actors is manifested in practice through a comparative study of lawyers in the UK, Sweden, Germany and France. The empirical background is that the second EU directive from 2001 (2001/97) and the third directive from 2005 (2005/60/EC), in particular, on anti-money laundering (AML) and terrorist financing obligate banks, lawyers, accountants and a wide range of other financial institutions to follow a risk-based approach in their dealings with clients. This means that lawyers, among other things,  are expected to keep comprehensive records on their clients and report any indications of money laundering to the national financial police without telling the client about the suspicion of illicit money transfer.

The EU directives are part of the on-going establishment of the EU Terrorist Finance Tracking System (TFTS) and follow the global FATF recommendations (Financial Action Task Force) and the US Administration’s political focus on the financial sector in the wake of 9/11 in 2001. The case of lawyers and terrorist financing represents a crucial case on where to draw the line between public and private actors. How are lawyers to be responsible for counterterrorism? The project studies how lawyers handle their roles as advocates of civil liberties and human rights in democracies, on the one hand, and as agents of the state in the securitization process in combating terrorism, on the other.  

 

Participants in the project are Professor Ulrika Mörth, Associate Professor Karin Svedberg Helgesson at Stockholm School of Economics and Ola Svenonius, post doc in Political Science.