Latvia submits a progress report on the effectiveness of the anti-money laundering and combating of terrorism and proliferation financing system
Latvia has submitted a progress report on effectiveness to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on the implementation of recommendations made by Moneyval experts on the improvement of the system of anti-money laundering and combating of terrorism and proliferation financing (AML/CTF/CPF).
The report demonstrates the work done by the Latvian responsible institutions since the end of 2017, when the visit of experts from Moneyval to Latvia was concluded.
Ilze Znotiņa, Head of Financial Intelligence Unit of Latvia (FIU): “We have achieved substantial and irreversible changes in the fight against financial and economic crimes in Latvia. In implementing the priority of combating and preventing financial crime as defined by the Latvian government, the policy makers, supervisory and law enforcement authorities have worked hand-in-hand to create an effective mechanism for the fight against money laundering. Our joint work focuses on protecting the legal interests of Latvian citizens and entrepreneurs, ensuring the stability of the global financial system and protecting Europe's common market."
The progress report on effectiveness demonstrates, among other things, the results achieved by Latvia:
- Political will and support by allocating the necessary additional resources and by making amendments to legislation that enables more effective prevention and combating of financial crimes.
- Enhanced independence and autonomy of the FIU by making it the leading institution in the field of AML/CTF/CPF.
- Coordination between public authorities and cooperation with the private sector in dedicated platforms.
- Reorganization of the financial sector by prohibiting financial institutions to make transactions with shell companies, limiting suspicious foreign deposits and deposit transfers, and strengthening supervisory authorities. Supervision of the financial sector is developed on a risk-based approach and it is evolving in line with the latest trends.
- Strengthening the role and impact of law enforcement agencies in the fight against financial crime:
- The amount of funds FIU has frozen during first ten months of 2019 is EUR 275,8 million;
- The number of criminal proceedings for money laundering in first nine months of 2019 has increased by 158%, compared to 2017;
- The number of criminal proceedings prosecuted in first nine months of 2019 has increased by 255% compared to 2017.
- Amendments adopted by the Latvian parliament to the Law on International and National Sanctions of the Republic of Latvia, ensuring direct and immediate application of sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council, without waiting for them to be transposed into the EU legal system. Sanctions Coordination Council has been established to strengthen the effectiveness of the application of sanctions and inform the private and public sector about compliance with sanctions.
- Strategy elaborated and adopted by the Latvian State Security Service – “Strategy for the Prevention of Terrorism Financing for 2019 – 2021” defines common strategic principles for combating of terrorism financing for all institutions involved in the combating of terrorism financing in Latvia.
- The register of true beneficiaries created and made publicly available online by the Enterprise Register.
- Educating society and specific target groups on financial and economic crimes and consequences thereof in order to jointly build a sound and secure financial system.
At the beginning of December in Strasbourg, the Moneyval plenary session will take place, in which the technical report submitted by Latvia on 30 August 2019 will be discussed. In turn, the Latvian delegation will have a face-to-face meeting with FATF experts in mid-December to discuss the country's progress in improving the efficiency of the AML/CFT/CPF system according to a report submitted in November 2019. Latvia’s progress and compliance with the requirements are scheduled to be reviewed in the FATF plenary session in February 2020.
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